Fishermen drop plans to leave for Sri Lanka
Madurai: Fishermen of coastal districts, boycotting fishing since July 24 over frequent arrest of their counterparts by Sri Lankan Navy, today dropped their plan to go to Katchatheevu following intervention of Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries, Pon Radhakrishnan.
About 500 fishermen, who had gathered at the coastal area near Verkode St Joseph School, were preparing to leave for Sri Lanka when Radhakrishnan contacted them over phone (with Public Address system), and assured them that steps would be taken to secure release of arrested fishermen and seized boats.
The fishermen planned to leave on boats carrying white flags and surrender to officials in the island nation so that they would at least be able to survive there and earn their livelihood peacefully.
The minister also assured them that the Centre would hold talks with the Sri Lankan government and secure the release of the fishermen.
Speaking to reporters here, S Emiritus, T Sesuraja and Bose, leaders of Fishermen`s Association, said they were dropping their plan following assurance from the minister.
The fishermen, who are on strike for the past 11 days demanding release of the 94 fishermen and 63 boats in the custody of the Island nation, said they would continue their protest till the boats and fishermen were released. They were also protesting the frequent "attacks" by the Lankan Navy and snapping of their fishing nets.
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