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Sri Lankan Fisherfolk Stage Sea Protest Against Indian Intrusion

Sri Lankan fisherfolk in the North are taking a stand against the persistent challenge of Indian fisherfolk illegally entering the Sea of Sri Lanka, depleting crucial maritime resources. In response to this ongoing issue, a protest at sea is set to be held by Sri Lankan fisherfolk today.

Fisherfolk in Jaffna are gearing up to protest against the illegal fishing activities of Indian counterparts within Sri Lankan territory. Departing from Point Pedro this morning, they plan to demonstrate at sea along the India-Sri Lanka maritime border. Simultaneously, additional protests are scheduled in other coastal areas across the Jaffna district.

Background of the Issue:

The conflict escalated on February 16 when two Indian fishermen, disregarding GPS warnings, entered Sri Lankan waters. The Kytes Magistrate’s Court sentenced them to six months in prison for illegally entering the Sea of Sri Lanka using GPS equipment. Another fisherman faced a similar conviction recently.

In response, the RAMESWARAM Fishermen Association announced their refusal to participate in the Katchatheevu feast. Rameswaram fishermen staged an eight-day protest, initiating a Satyagraha on the 24th, which concluded the following day. Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister, Douglas Devananda, expressed intent to resign on February 26 and join local fishermen in protest if India exerts pressure on the Indo-Sri Lankan fisheries issue. Despite fishermen in Rameswaram resuming work on the 26th, they announced plans to stage a protest on the 27th along the coast of Panban in Tamil Nadu to express dissent.

On February 28, Rameswaram fishermen held a protest coinciding with the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Talks were reported between the Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister and Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister Anitha Radhakrishnan to find a diplomatic solution. However, both Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen remain resolute in their respective stances, adding complexity to the ongoing dispute.

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