Sri Lanka denies role in death of fisherman as row escalates

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India, All India

Government takes up matter with Lanka PM after TN protests

Hundreds from fishermen community sit in protest in Rameswaram on Tuesday against the alleged killing. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: In the wake of the killing of an Indian Tamil fisherman allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy on Monday night, following which an angry India demanded a probe, Sri Lanka on Tuesday announced that  “initial investigations indicate that the Sri Lanka Navy is not involved in the alleged incident”. India on Tuesday morning said it was “deeply concerned” and that the Indian high commissioner in Colombo has taken up the matter with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, adding that “the Sri Lankan Navy has promised a full and thorough investigation” into the incident. Colombo, in turn, said that “if in fact a shooting has taken place, it is a matter of grave concern”, adding that “the Government of Sri Lanka is firm in its commitment to ensuring that all Government agencies treat all Indian fishermen in a humane manner at all times”.

The killing has triggered protests in Tamil Nadu, where chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami condemned the incident and announced a compensation of `5 lakh for the victim’s family. Mr Palaniswami said the state government has been repeatedly taking up with Centre the various instances of arrest and “intimidation” of fishermen by the Lankan Navy, besides seizure of their boats and pressed for a lasting solution.

There were also reports that a Sri Lankan Naval officer too denied the allegations, maintaining that Sri Lankan naval boats are “not authorised to shoot” at Indian fishermen.

In a statement from New Delhi, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said, “The Government of India is deeply concerned at the killing of an Indian fisherman. Our high commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Navy has promised a full and thorough investigation.”

In a statement from Colombo, Sri Lanka said, “The government of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned about the alleged shooting on Indian fishermen, and the connected loss of life of one fisherman and injury caused to another. The safety of fishermen is of utmost importance and the government of Sri Lanka is firm in its commitment to ensuring that all Government agencies treat all Indian fishermen in a humane manner at all times. Initial investigations indicate that the Sri Lanka Navy is not involved in this alleged incident.”

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