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SL Prez seeks humanitarian solution to fishing row

Last Updated: Friday, January 14, 2011 - 16:53

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa Friday advocated a "humanitarian approach" to avoid clashes between fishermen from India and his country near the international maritime border (IMB).

"The fishermen will go where the fish is and they are
not likely to respect international borders," Rajapaksa said
when asked for his comment on the killing of an Indian

"We have to take a humanitarian approach," he said,
adding that investigations by Sri Lankan Navy showed that
there had been no shooting by his forces on Indian fishermen.

Earlier, Indian media reported that at least one
fisherman from Tamil Nadu was killed on Wednesday night in an
incident near Tamil Nadu waters.

The media reports said the Sri Lankan Navy allegedly
opened fire at the fishermen killing one and injuring another.
Rajapaksa said that the two countries had established
a system to avoid clashes before Sri Lankan forces crushed
LTTE rebels and brought an end to gun running along the IMB.

However, with the return of peace and Sri Lankan
fishermen allowed to go out in the area, there had been many
incidents of clashes between fishermen from the two nations.

Director of Naval Operations in Sri Lanka, Commodore
Neil Rosayro told reporters at the President`s official
residence today that their investigations showed that the Sri
Lankan navy had not fired at the Indians as alleged.
"There are several systems that the Indian navy and
the coastguard has put in place, they will know instantly if
we cross the International Maritime Border," Rosairo told

"They can confirm that we did not cross the IMB and
there was no shooting by our boats," he said.

India yesterday summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner
Prasad Kariyawasam to lodge a strong protest over the killing
of a fisherman by Lankan Navy, asserting that such incidents
have no "justification" and calling on authorities there to
"desist" from use of force.

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 Lankan government and
expressed "deep concern and regret" over it.


First Published: Friday, January 14, 2011 - 16:53

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