MANGALURU: National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has expressed concern over three major incidents involving Indian fishermen in the recent past. Fishermen have been arrested and detained by foreign governments causing anguish to families concerned and the fishing community at large. The incidents include firing on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy resulting in death of one at Rameshwaram and arrest of 70 fishermen by Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency.
Vasudev Boloor, vice-chairperson, NFF also expressed concern at a move by British government that detained two boats and 32 Indian fishworkers from Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia. Livelihood of fishing community in coastal area is under threat in such situations. Security agencies of neighbouring nations are mechanically implementing laws without any understanding that those involved are ordinary fishermen.
Disproportionate response that in one instance has led to loss of life and this is a matter of serious concern, he said referring to the Rameshwaram incident. Fishing is the only livelihood for most marine fishing communities in India. Distinguishing between Indian, Pakistani and British waters in the middle of the sea is not easy give that such boundaries are on paper and not visible. Killing and threatening fish workers for enforcement of such boundaries is inhuman.
NFF condemns all such acts of foreign security agencies that threaten livelihood and lives of Indian fishermen, he said and urged union government to establish bilateral dialogue to ensure that the arrested fishermen are released immediately and ways found to protect lives and interests of fishermen. NFF also urged the union ministries concerned (external affairs, defence, agriculture) to get the detained fishermen released and compensate the families of fishermen killed.