Sri Lanka orders probe in Indian Fisherman murder, Navy denies allegation

The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday ordered a probe into the killing of an Indian fisherman allegedly by its navy, after India raised the issue with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Sri Lankan navy, however, denied the allegation, saying it does not open fire at poaching fishermen and only arrests them.

The navy’s reaction comes after India said that a 22-year-old fisherman from Tamil Nadu had been killed and another injured after Sri Lanka Navy personnel fired at them.

A group of Indian fisherman was allegedly fired upon when they were fishing between Danushkodi and Katchatheevu off the Tamil Nadu coast late Monday. One was killed, while three were injured.

The deceased, who was shot in the neck, has been identified as 22-year-old Britso. His body was brought to the Rameswaram Government Hospital but his family has refused to accept it.

Rameswaram fishermen association president P Sesuraja alleged that the Sri Lankan navy did not even fire a warning shot.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Working President MK Stalin has condemned the killing of an Indian fisherman by Sri Lankan forces, and said the Centre can’t be “a mere spectator” anymore.

He demanded that the Narendra Modi government hold embassy-level talks at once on the issue, and wants it to warn Sri Lanka that if Indian fishermen are harmed, the island nation will have to face dire consequences.

“’After indulging in the arrest of fishermen and apprehending their boats, they have started to shoot at fishermen and kill them, and the Centre can’t be a mere spectator anymore”’, Stalin said.

PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss on Tuesday condemned the incident and demanded that the Indian government should not tolerate such attacks and stop terming Sri Lanka as a friendly nation.

“They were first attacked by the Lankan navy with grenades and then were shot at in which Britso was killed…,” Ramadoss said.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister E Palaniswami referred to the arrest of 32 Indian fishermen by Lankan authorities in the last few days, and said these incidents were causing hardship and mental agony to the community of fishermen.

Noting that currently there were 85 fishermen and 128 fishing boats in Lankan custody, he urged Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry officials concerned to take concrete action through diplomatic channels to secure their release.