COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan minister has called for joint patrolling by the Indian and Sri Lankan Navies to prevent clashes between their fishermen.
Mr Douglas Devananda, the ministry for traditional industries and small enterprises development, claimed on Thursday that Indians encroaching in Sri Lankan waters off Kachchaitivu Island resulted in clashes and affected the daily livelihood of the island nation's fishermen.
"Sometimes the Indians damage the fishing nets of Sri Lankan fishermen. This has become a serious issue. I have suggested that the Sri Lankan and Indian navy conduct joint patrolling near the maritime boundary of both countries to prevent these kind of incidents from taking place," said the minister.
Indian fishermen accuse the Sri Lankan fishermen and Sri Lankan Navy of attacking them when they cross the boundary line to catch fish near Kachchaitivu Island, which was ceded to Sri Lanka many years ago. Mr Devananda said that the only way one can find out who is attacking who is by conducting joint patrolling at the international maritime boundary line.
He also called on Tamil Nadu politicians to look at the fishermens' issue for a solution instead of levelling allegations of human rights violations against Sri Lanka.