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TN fishermen threaten to relinquish Indian citizenship if centre fails to bring back fishers in Lankan jails

Chennai, Jan 24 (BPNS)

Fishermen from Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu have threatened to relinquish all documents relating to their Indian citizenship by February 2nd if the Union government fails to bring back the fishermen who are languishing in Sri Lankan jails for crossing International Marine Boundary Line (IMBL).

The fishermen also demanded the Central government to stop the Sri Lankan fisheries department from auctioning the fishing boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen that were seized by the Lankan navy between 2015 and 2018.

A meeting held by All Mechanised Boats Fishermen associations held on Monday condemned the move of the Sri Lankan authorities to auction the fishing boats of Indian fishermen seized by the Lankans for crossing the IMBL.

P. Sesuraja, secretary of the organization while speaking to IANS said, “ We will have to take extreme steps like relinquishing our Indian citizenship as we have been driven to the wall, not one, two or three times but many times. Our brethren are languishing in Sri Lankan jails and we want the Government of India to immediately bring them back. The fishing boats that are our livelihood are also being auctioned by the Sri Lankan authorities. Government of India must intervene and prevent this also.”

The fishermen also demanded that the Government of India provide compensation to the boats that are under custody of Sri Lankan authorities. The fishermen association leaders said that the Tamil Nadu government has already announced compensation and the Union government must follow suit.

Fishermen leaders said that the Central government must act immediately and bring back the fishermen and prevent the auction of fishing boats seized by the Sri Lankan authorities before February 2 and warned that the fishermen would conduct a series of agitations against this and will give up all their documents of Indian citizenship.