Nirupama Rao gives firm evidences of naval attacks and killings on Tamil fishermen. Rajapaksa Accepts Indian Case, Seeks More Info to Order Probe.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Monday handed over to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa strong evidence of Lankan naval personnel attacking and killing two fishermen from Tamil Nadu on January 12 and 22. (It is noted that almost 539 fishermen had been killed by Lankan Navy till date)
Rajapaksa accepted the Indian case, but asked for more information to help the Sri Lankan navy carry out its own investigations (!) into the matter.
Rao gave GPS data and circumstantial evidence suggesting that on both occasions, Lankan naval personnel had attacked the fishermen after they had strayed into Lankan waters.
This was in violation of the agreed norm, which is to arrest straying fishermen and not attack or kill them.
However, the scientific evidence with India did not support the fishermen’s case that they were attacked in Indian waters.
Rao was assisted by Dr. S. K. Pandian, Secretary, Law and Order, Tamil Nadu.
The two sides agreed that there was a need to discuss arrangements based on the current situation so as to strength the safety and security of fishermen.
Asked if Colombo raised the possibility of a “third party” indulging in such violence to put strains on India-Lanka relations, Rao said at the moment, Delhi could only go by the fishermen’s version.