Lanka suspects third party role in attack on TN fishermen

Sri Lanka said its Navy would not fire at Indian fishermen even if they had crossed the maritime boundary and suspected the role of some "third party" behind the recurring incidents.

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2011, 22:58 PM IST

Chennai: Sri Lanka on Tuesday said its Navy would not fire at Indian fishermen even if they had crossed the maritime boundary and suspected the role of some "third party" behind the recurring incidents.

"The Sri Lankan navy is not involved in these attacks and we are equally concerned. We want to find out who did this. The Sri Lankan Navy will not not fire at Indian fishermen even if they had crossed into our waters," Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam told reporters here.

He said he hoped that investigation on both sides would throw more light on the killing of two fishermen from Tamil Nadu in the past fortnight over which India had lodged a strong protest and demanded action from the Lankan Government.
Kariyawasam came here to meet state Chief Secretary S Malathy to express concern over the attack on the Mahabodhi Society, a Buddhist centre, here last night which left four Sri Lankan nationals, including a monk, injured. The attack is seen as a retaliation to the killing of fishermen.

He doubted the role of some third party in the attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Straits and said that proper investigation would bring out the truth.
"Now that the LTTE is no more, we do not know who did it. We hope investigation (on both sides) throws light."

Admitting that it was `difficult` for the fishermen to identify the maritime boundary, he said a Joint Working Group of the two countries will discuss and try to find a solution.

Asked about the possibility of allowing Tamil Nadu fishermen to fish in the contentious Katchatheevu , an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974 by way of a pact, he said that "it is best for the people of both countries to respect a demarcated and accepted international boundary."

On the attack on the Bodhi society, Kariyawasam said it was the handiwork of some "extremist elements who want to vitiate and damage" Indo-Sri Lankan bilateral relations, more so the "good ties" between the island nation and Tamil Nadu.

On the situation in northern Sri Lanka, he said the country was in the process of rebuilding, reconstruction and reconciliation. Of the nearly three lakh internally displaced people of Tamil origin, only 5,000 remain to be resettled.

To a question on restrictions for international media, he said "all of Sri Lanka is open to media. But there is a procedure and permission has to be obtained."

PTI