Lankan Navy put chilly powder in our eyes, say Indian fishermen; Lanka denies claims

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 08, 2013 14:13 hrs

New Delhi: Sri Lanka denied on Friday that its navy had fired at Indian fishermen off Tamil Nadu.

The Sri Lankan High Commission said none of its naval craft fired at "any fishing vessel or any other object" on Wednesday or Thursday.

The alleged incident reportedly took place off Kodiakarai in Tamil Nadu, a statement by the mission said.

But the Sri Lanka Navy voiced concern "over the large number of fishermen from southern India crossing the international maritime boundary line and fishing in Sri Lankan waters on a regular basis".

It confirmed the arrest of 16 Indian fishermen allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters off the island nation's northwest March 3.

"The Sri Lanka Navy reiterates its commitment to not use force under any circumstances and extend humane treatment to all fishermen at all times," it said.

Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka are separated by a narrow strip of sea.

Sri Lankan Navy put chilly powder in our eyes, say four Indian fishermen

A group of Indian fishermen alleged they were attacked by the Sri Lankan coast guard, who threw chilly powder in their eyes, beat them up and dumped equipment worth Rs 15 lakhs in the sea.

Four fishermen from Puducherry were injured in the alleged attack by Sri Lankan Coast Guard personnel.

Five Karaikal-based fishermen had ventured into the sea on March 2 and were fishing off the Kodiakarai coast last night, when they were allegedly attacked by the Lankan personnel.

They said the Lankans came up in white boats, surrounded them and then attacked them.

They confiscated some electronic equipment, cut their nets and dumped aboard other equipment causing damages worth Rs 15 lakhs.

One of fisherman managed to escape unhurt as he hid near the boat's engines, he said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday had written to Prime Minister saying these incidents should be viewed as an "indirect attempt to intimidate India and browbeat it into not raising its voice" against Sri Lanka on the Tamil issue at the international fora.

The attack also comes following a meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) in January where the two sides pledged to stop violence on fishermen of both countries.

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