TN fishermen start hunger strike against arrest of fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy

Chennai, Feb 24 – Fishermen of Thangachimadam and Rameswaram areas in Tamil Nadu along with their families have started a relay hunger on Saturday against the arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy

“Sri Lankan government has jailed five of our fishermen. They have been sentenced in between six months to two years. We have not ventured into the sea for the last eight days now,” P Jesu Raja, a fishermen leader, told IANS.

He said that the hunger strike will continue till all the fishermen are not released unconditionally and an assurance given that the Sri Lankan government will not arrest fishermen anymore.

The fishermen association leaders said that they will continue with the strike even if they die due to starvation.

Jesu Raja appealed to the Central government to immediately intervene to get the fishermen released along with their mechanised boats.

The fishermen leaders said that the fishermen from coastal districts of Tamil Nadu continue to earn good foreign exchange revenues through exports by their hard work. “The government should not let us down,” they said.

Simon Josephn, another fishermen leader, told IANS, that the fishermen of Rameswaram and Thangachimadom areas have been fishing in the Palk Bay since a long time and the sudden and forceful action being taken by the Sri Lankan Navy against the fisherman is totally unacceptable.

Simon said that India has been providing huge support to Sri Lanka but the island nation is throttling the livelihoods of the fishermen.

He said that the fishermen are eager to get back to work and hope for speedy action from the government.

The fishermen families of Rameswaram, Thangachimadam, Mandapam and Dhanushkodi areas have also stayed away from the annual two day St Antony‘s Church festival in Katchatheevu.

“Families are upset over the jail terms awarded to the fishermen and to express our solidarity, we have decided not to participate in the annual festival,” fishermen leader R. Sagayam of Rameswaram told IANS.


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