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    Sri Lankan Navy Reportedly Drive Away Indian Fishermen Near Disputed Katchatheevu Island

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The fishermen sought the intervention of federal and state governments to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities.

    On a day when a new Sri Lankan President was sworn in, about 2,000 Indian fishermen in dozens of boats were chased away by the Sri Lankan Navy as they were fishing near the disputed Katchatheevu Island.

    On Tuesday, the President of Rameshwaram Fishermen Association P Sesuraja said that fishing nets of several boats were also destroyed by the navy.

    According to reports, the fishermen asked for the intervention of federal and state governments to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan authorities. The Sri Lankan side has yet to respond.

    In early November, over 3,000 fishermen from Rameshwaram were also allegedly driven away by the Sri Lankan Navy when they were fishing in the same area.

    Both Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen have been fishing in the Palk Strait for decades. However, arrests of Sri Lankan fishermen by Indian authorities are comparatively fewer, as they mostly fish in the high seas using multi-day crafts. On the other hand, Indian fishermen, who are unable to go to offshore areas in India's exclusive economic zone, often stray into Sri Lankan waters, and are either chased away or arrested.  

    Katchatheevu Island in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka has been at the centre of a long-standing dispute between the fishermen of southern Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Both countries have set up a bilateral mechanism to help find a permanent solution to the issue.


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