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India summons Sri Lankan HC on fisherman killing


New Delhi, January 13 (PTI): India on Thursday summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam to lodge a strong protest over the killing of a fisherman by Sri Lankan Navy, asserting that such incidents have no “justification” and calling on authorities there to “desist” from use of force. However, the Sri Lankan envoy denied involvement of his country’s Navy in the killing of the fisherman on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has sought a detailed report from the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, who has taken up this matter with the Sri Lankan government and expressed “deep concern and regret” over it. In a fresh incident of attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen in Palk Straits, one person was killed when Sri Lankan Navy allegedly opened fire at three fishermen, who put out to sea from Jagadapattinnam near Pudukottai. Emphasising that resorting to firing in these situations has “no justification”, India called on the Sri Lankan authorities to “desist” from use of force.
The Government summoned Mr. Kariyawasam to the MEA where the Joint Secretary in the division dealing with Sri Lanka registered India’s strong protest. Mr. Kariyawasam denied the involvement of Lankan Navy in the incident but said Colombo will conduct an inquiry since India had officially informed about it. “Our enquiries reveal that the Sri Lankan Navy is not involved. The Navy is under strict orders never to fire at fishermen even if they cross international boundary line towards Sri Lanka,” Mr. Kariyawasam told reporters after the meeting. He said investigations will happen in Lankan side and Indian side as well to find out what exactly happened.
“But my information at this point from our Navy is that their vessels were not in that area... But nevertheless we will conduct an inquiry since we have been officially informed about this incident,” he said. Asked whether the incident happened on Sri Lankan side, he said their Navy never crosses into Indian waters “but as you know Indian fishermen sometimes crosses the boundary line and fish in our waters.” The MEA said, “we have consistently emphasised to the Sri Lankan Government to refrain from firing on our fishermen and scrupulously adhere to the October 2008 understanding reached between the two governments. We call on the Sri Lankan Navy to exercise maximum restraint and avoid use of force in such situations.”
 
Karunanidhi writes to PM seeking action to end firing on fishermen
 
CHENNAI, January 13 (PTI): Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Thursday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take firm action to put an end to the killing of Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. In his letter to the Prime Minister in the wake of the killing of Nagapattinam-based fisherman Veerapandian on Wednesday by the Sri Lankan Navy, the Chief Minister said “the atrocities of Sri Lankan Navy are continuing unabated, in spite of repeated assurances given by both Government of India as well as Sri Lankan Government.”
“This particular incident may be taken up with the Government of Sri Lanka for immediate action against those responsible for shooting and killing. Your personal intervention is requested for firm action to put an end to such killings,” he said. The issue was also raised in the Assembly by the Opposition members through a calling attention motion.
Replying to the motion, Deputy Chief Minster M.K. Stalin informed the House that the government had already announced Rs 5 lakh solatium to his family. Pandian’s sister will get a government job. He said Pandian had gone for fishing from Jagathapattinam fishing yard in Pudukottai district along with three other fishermen on Wednesday morning. When they were fishing 15 km off the Jagathapattinam coast, the Sri Lankan Navy had fired at them, injuring Pandian in the incident. He was taken to the hospital in Manalmelkudi and doctors there had declared him dead.
 
SL denies firing at Indian fishermen

Colombo, January 13 (Agencies):

Sri Lanka on Thursday flatly denied that its navy had fired at on three Indian fishermen at sea near the Tamil Nadu coast, leading to the death of one on Wednesday evening. But the swiftness with which the High Commission of India in Colombo took the matter up with the Lankan ministry of external affairs forced the authorities in Colombo to refer the matter to defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Sri Lankan naval chief’s office for further clarity.
External affairs minister GL Peiris went in for a close door meeting with top officials including foreign secretary Romesh Jayasinghe on the incident. In October, 2008, an Indo-Lanka agreement, followed by a joint statement, had tried to settle the issue. “As part of these practical arrangements, following the designation by the Government of Sri Lanka of sensitive areas along the Sri Lankan coastline and their intimation to the Government of India, Indian fishing vessels will not venture into these identified sensitive areas. Further, there will be no firing on Indian fishing vessels.It was agreed that Indian fishing vessels would carry valid registration/permit and the fishermen would have on person valid identity cards issued by the Government of Tamil Nadu,” the statement said.
More than two years later, the problem quite clearly is far from resolved. Earlier on Thursday, Laxman Hullugalle, the director general of media centre for national security, and SLN spokesperson, Captain Athula Senarath denied that any such incident had occurred.  Senarath added that the navy in fact was frequently helping Indian fishermen in times of trouble. He said the navy repatriated four Indian fishermen along with their fishing boat near the Indo-Sri Lanka maritime boundary on January 9.
“The Indian fishermen who had been drifting in the Northern seas of Sri Lanka were rescued and provided necessary facilities by SL Navy. They were accompanied to IMBL by SLNS Wickrama II and handed over to Indian authorities on board Indian Coast Guard ship Avvaiyyar, the navy website said. Similarly, according to the website, Sri Lanka Navy assisted an Indian fishing boat with four fishermen on-board in distress in Sri Lankan waters on December 27.