Sri Lanka Navy today categorically denied Indian media reports of chasing Tamil Nadu fishermen out of Sri Lankan waters and causing the deaths of two fishermen.
India's PTI news agency reported today that Sri Lankan naval vessels allegedly chased an Indian boat in the sea off the coastal town of Rameswaram resulting in the deaths of two fishermen when their boat capsized during the chase. Three others were reportedly injured.
The Sri Lankan Navy denied the PTI report saying that the naval personnel arrested 30 Indian fishermen "within the framework of existing international maritime law" and handed over to the Fisheries Inspector of Jaffna.
"As a recognized force protecting the territorial waters of Sri Lanka we have arrested 30 fishermen and handed them over to the relevant authorities. We categorically deny all other allegations and reports," Navy Spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya told local media.
The Indian fishermen have crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and were poaching in Sri Lanka's territorial waters, the Navy Spokesman said.
Injured Indian fishermen have accused the Sri Lankan Navy of damaging their boats by pelting stones and hurling wooden logs at the vessels. They also accused the Navy of cutting their fishing nets of all the boats.
Sri Lanka says the annual loss to the country due to poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters amounts to US$ 750 million (RS. 97.5 billion) as the intruding fishermen rob Sri Lankan fishermen's livelihood. More....