When a group of fishermen from Mannar Pallimunai, Panankattu and Periyakattu areas were preparing to leave on fishing engagements on Friday morning, a group of Naval personnel had arrived and wanted to inspect the fishermen’s boat and fishing licenses which resulted in a tense situation as the fishermen were agitated, reported “Gagana” radio.
When inquired from the Navy Spokesman Akram Alavi regarding this incident, he said the inspection was carried out with the assistance of the area Assistant Fisheries Director.
Not a Naval duty:
However, the Assistant Fisheries Director B. S Miranda had informed the fishermen that inspecting of licenses was not a duty of the Navy.
Meanwhile in an attempt to defuse the tensions and resolve this issue, TNA MP Charles Nirmalanathan and Vicar General, Mannar Diocese Reverend Fr. Victor Anthony Sosai are engaged in discussions with the authorities.
Navy Spokesman Akram Alavi said there is large scale drugs and Kerala Ganja trafficking taking place in the Eastern coastal belt under the disguise of fishing, and the inspection of permits was an attempt to confirm that these persons were genuine fishermen and not drug traffickers operating under the guise of fishermen.
He said the fishermen were opposing the inspection of the licenses and they were protesting over this issue.
In the midst of the Navy- fishermen issue, a police officer present had told Nirmalanathan “If required go to court.”
Villagers in a state of panic
Last month villagers had apprehended a group of Naval soldiers who had stormed a fishing village which resulted in a clash between the villagers and members of the Naval camp. As a result the Navy has deployed armed security to the village causing the residents to panic.
The villagers allege that since that incident the Navy is constantly conducting checks on fishing crafts on shore and at sea and arresting fishermen and taking their crafts into custody.