Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy, who visited the injured fishermen at a hospital here on Saturday, condemned the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly attacking them in Indian waters.
"It is very unfortunate not only I condemn the incident of attack on our Indian fishermen in our own waters under the camouflage of Sri Lankan water by the Sri Lankan navy. We will ensure protection to our fishermen," he told media here.
Narayanasamy promised to take steps to strengthen the coast guard and increase surveillance in the sea to avert such incidents.
"To strengthen our coast guard I will take it up with our defence minister for the purpose of surveillance in the Indian coastal area so that our fishermen can be protected. It is unfortunate and issue has to be resolved," he said.
Narayanasamy also claimed the Sri Lankan Government had agreed to hold a joint meeting of fishermen from both the countries to amicably resolve the pestering issue.
"The government of India for the last two years has been talking to the Sri Lankan government for the purpose of the meeting of the Sri Lankan fishermen leaders and also our Tamil Nadu and Karaikal fishermen leaders. Now, the Sri Lanka has agreed," he added.
The Sri Lankan Navy has rubbished media reports that said its personnel allegedly attacked allegedly fired at Indian fishermen off the Kodiakarai coast.
"On seeing reports in the media on 7 March, 2013 on an incident of alleged firing at Indian fishermen by the Sri Lanka Navy off the Kodiakarai coast, an investigation has been carried out. It was revealed that Sri Lanka Naval vessels had not entered Indian waters at any time either on 6 or 7 March 2013, as alleged," said a press release issued by the Sri Lanka High Commission yesterday.
" It was further revealed that no Sri Lankan Naval craft had opened fire at any fishing vessel or any other object on 6 or 7 March 2013 in the area," it added.
The release further said 'the Sri Lanka Navy expresses concern over the large number of fishermen from Southern India crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters on a regular basis and in this regard, the Sri Lanka Navy confirms the arrest of 16 fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters off the north-western coast on 3 March 2013'.
"The Sri Lanka Navy reiterates its commitment to not use force under any circumstances and extend humane treatment to all fishermen at all times," the release added. (ANI)