Friday, April 8, 2011

Fishermen ransack govt office

Rameswaram: Around 100 fishermen on Thursday ransacked a Fisheries department office here protesting "inaction" on complaints of disappearance of four fishermen since April 2 even as the body of one of them was washed ashore along the Sri Lankan coast.

Assistant Director of Fisheries Markandeyan, whose office was ransacked, said the agitating fishermen barged into building, broke tables, chairs and fittings and threw the files.
They also locked the officials inside the office alleging that they had not taken action to trace the fishermen. Police rushed to the spot and released the officials and the documents strewn in the office were collected and re-arranged.

A tense situation prevailed in the town after the incident as some CPI and CPI-M workers came out in support of the fishermen, sources said.

Top police officials held talks with the fishermen, following which they dispersed later. Cases had been registered against some persons in connection with the incident, police said.

The body of Victus (42), hailing from Rameswaram, who had been missing since Saturday last, was found washed ashore at Nedunthivu along the Lankan coast yesterday, Gnanaseelan, President, Ramanathapuram Fishermen Association, said.

Gnanaseelan also alleged that more than 1,500 Indian fishermen who were fishing in 300 boats between Dhanushkodi and Katchativu were "chased away" by the Lankan Navy early this morning. The Lankan Navy had turned back on seeing the Indian Coastguard patrol, he said.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Doss, Inspector General of Police, Coastal Security, said fishermen had been advised not to cross the International Maritime Border Line.

To a question, he said the four Sri Lankan Navy personnel, who have been missing for more than ten days, have not been traced so far. All coastal villages and fishermen have been alerted and asked to inform the police if they were spotted.

Talks were being held with the Sri Lankan officials to prevent attacks on Indian fishermen, Doss said.

He said the 18 check posts that had been closed in Ramanathapuram and neighbouring districts temporarily, would function after the April 13 Assembly polls. Presently, the policemen have been deployed for election duty.

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