Indian media has reported a Sri Lankan Navy assault on Indian fishermen resulting in the death of one, Chellappan, age 53. Sri Lanka Navy Spokesman Captain Athula Senarath denied any such incident.
Indian fishermen Murugesan (30), Chinnapan (35), Illayaraja (18), Arivazhagan (24) did, however, lodge a complaint at a police station in Vedaranyam, the fisheries department and the Tamil Nadu Coastal Security. The body of Chellappan was also brought to Nagapattinam General Hospital, according to Indian police.
Chief Minister Karunanidhi made a statement saying “Even though several appeals have been made by the Tamil Nadu Government to the Prime Minister and the concerned Union Ministers through letters as well as in person, such tragic incidents have not stopped. Whenever such incidents take place, we appeal to the Union Government and they in turn make an appeal or write to the Sri Lankan Government as a measure to placate us; however such incidents keep recurring.”
Indian and Sri Lanka share a narrow naval border and the incident reportedly took place near Katchathivu, an island ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. Incidents of border crossing are numerous, though not usually deadly. Indian Commander Coast Guard Region IG A Rajasekhar said that 47 Sri Lankan boats have been apprehended this year. Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has recently said that around 1,400 foreign fishing boats are poaching on Sri Lankan territorial waters.