1 December, 2020

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India And Sri Lanka: Resolution Of Encroaching Indian Boats

There is a big question as to whether some people tried to find some basis for escalating the problem between India and Sri Lanka over the boats abandoned by Indian fisherman in Sri Lanka by joining it to the problems faced by the northern fishermen. It has now become problematic to the extent that both governments are worried.

While Indian fishermen enter Sri Lankan waters and effectively take over Sri Lankan territory, it affects our internal fisherfolk because the fishing stock available to them is also depleted.  During the past years, a few hundred Indian fishing vessels entering Sri Lankan waters and interdicted by our navy have remained in limbo. Indians demanded their return while Sri Lankan fishermen, mainly Tamil, are opposed to it. A Sri Lankan Minister with his own legal problems in India over his participation in gun battles in the streets of Chennai, has weighed in with Tamil fishermen and is opposed to going soft on the boat issue. He has gained some following among fisherfolk on account. India too may be soft on him, given his ability to foment trouble for it with Indian fishermen.

This is a major problem between the two countries and no solution has been in sight for many decades – till now, and this settlement of sorts is being disturbed.

In this festering state of affairs, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General issued a recommendation in the year 2019 that boats interdicted from 2015 to 2018 be released. On this basis the courts decided to release the boats. Accordingly, Indian officials in charge of their territorial waters and the boat owners visited Sri Lanka, and returned with those boats in seaworthy or reparable condition, effectively abandoning the remaining boats. They took back with them 27 boats from Jaffna and 10 from Mannar. The rest were presumably worthless, or minimally not it in a condition to be taken back.

Those abandoned  boats were tethered to the shore in places like Kiranji and Karaitivu near naval bases. On account of rainwater accumulating in the boats, they soon had become mosquito breeding sites. The area was also an eye-sore. So a decision was made on 27 Aug. 2020 by “The Working Committee to Stop Illegal Activities at Sea” under the Ministry of Fisheries to request court to remove the abandoned vessels. This was by the Jaffna Assistant Director of the Department of Fisheries citing the Attorney General’s recommendation. A key figure in this is believed to be Sri Lanka’s Minister  with the fisheries portfolio, Hon. Douglas Devananda.

Based on these requests to the courts from the Ministry of Fisheries and the Attorney General’s Recommendation, and the Advisory Note from the Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kayts Court on 5 Oct. 2020 issued order under case B/216/17 permitting the auctioning of 94 of these boats.

In like manner,  the Mannar Court gave permission on 4 Nov.2020 to  auction or destroy (unlike the Jaffna order which did not cover destruction) 27 other boats. A solution, it seemed, had been found.

However, when these court rulings came to be published in Colombo-based media and through Indian news outlets, the problem erupted anew. As news that 121 Indian Boats were to be auctioned or destroyed made its way through Tamil Nadu, several organizations representing fishermen began to protest. No mention is made that the best of the boats had already been returned.   It is a little puzzling that many fisher-organization representatives who came to Sri Lanka in 2019, inspected the boats, and returned with the salvageable ones, are also members of organizations now protesting the destruction or auctioning of boats.

At the same time, when the judgement and motion from the Fisheries Department were examined, it became clear from the wording of the judgement and the attachments to the Ministry’s motion that the Indian High Commission had expressed its lack of objections to the auctioning of the boats in a letter to Sri

Lanka’s Foreign Ministry. This knowledge seems to be of explosive consequences in Tamil Nadu. From that it was recognized that the Indian High Commission had well-understood the situation when writing to the Foreign ministry.

What will happen when the court’s ruling is implemented? Or will there be a request to make it less explosive? (By N. Lohathayalan)

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Latest comments

  • 3
    10

    South Indian fishermen have traditionally fished in the northern seas of SL. They should be allowed to do it freely. Do not make it to a problem between SL and India. Not worth it.

    • 6
      6

      All this happened because the island of Kachatheevu which rightfully belongs to Tamil Nadu and its people , was gifted to Sri Lanka by Mrs. Indira Gandhi , without consulting the people of Tamil Nadu , as she was a friend of Mrs. Bandaranaike. Most probably again on the advise of many anti Tamils. She had no right to have done this. This was not her personal property to go around gifting to other people or nations, but land belonging to Tamil Nadu. Because of this the maritime borders changed and greatly disadvantaged the fishermen of Southern Tamil Nadu. Historically all these lands Tamil Nadu, northern , eastern , north western coast of Sri Lanka were and still are Tamil lands , ruled by Tamil kings and chiefs and Tamil fishermen from both sides of the sea freely fished and travelled across to each others shores.

      • 10
        5

        It is factually incorrect to say that Mrs. Gandhi gifted the island of Kachchativu to Sri Lanka. Long before India and Sri Lanka gained independence, officials of the Governor in Colombo and that of Madras discussed as to which of the Governors should administer the island and it was conceded that the island would be administered by the Governor in Colombo. That remained so and in 1947 India gained Independence without Kachchativu, still being administered by the Governor in Colombo and then Ceylon gained independence with that island as a part and parcel of Ceylon. The real necessity for a Sirima Indira pow-pow in 1974 was to demarcate the maritime boundaries between the countries. With respect to Kachchativu, though initially Mrs. Gandhi refused to recognize Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over the island she conceded in the wake of historical documents presented by Sri Lanka and the parties agreed that the Indians who wish to pay homage to shrines in the island be allowed to do so and I trust it is done still without formal visa to enter the island.

      • 1
        1

        I agree only with the part that the Indo-Ceylon deal then was wrong and the other Indo-Ceylon deals that went with it including the Sirima-Shastri deal which was never implemented fully. Things must have stayed as they were in 1970.

        Tamil Elam nation with equitable land demarcation (and all Tamils of the island living there) is the only solution. Let Tamils on both sides sort it out. No need to get others involved. But greed on the part of Tamils and Sinhalese to have the entire island stops all means of peaceful resolution.

        Gota only has a hammer so he sees every problem as a nail.

      • 3
        3

        It was that selfish M.Karunanithy who gave the consent to Indra Gandhi to gift Kachchativu to Sri Lanka despite the strong opposition from J.Jayalalitha.

        • 1
          1

          Dear AR

          That was just a deception when FP/TULF and Tamil Nadu poisoning our children / child abuse in the killer training camps in India with the knowledge of the central government giving the stupid island was like “pinching the child and swing the cradle too”.

          I wish Indians kept the kachathvu and did not sponsor the foreign sponsored terrorism in my country?? what you think??

          MK is a criminal period not for a being an Indians but for the criminal act in Sri Lanka?

      • 3
        4

        Rohan25
        ‘Tamil lands’ BS!
        Simply because Demala invaders controlled Northern part of the country for short periods and Demala coolies brought by Portuguese occupied land where Sinhalayo lived for thousands of years they do not become ‘Tamil lands’.

        “northern , eastern , north western coast of Sri Lanka were and still are Tamil lands , ruled by Tamil kings and chiefs”

    • 2
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy

    • 9
      2

      G
      Do you know the issues involved besides territorial matters?
      I guess that you heard of the Indira-Sirimavo Accord of 1974? It was observed in the breach even after it banned fishing outside territorial waters. But there was o problem as the fishing methods did not hurt coastal marine resources.
      There is strictly no problem if the fishers use traditional methods. In fact Sri Lankan fishers used to cross the strait during certain months.
      The trouble is the kind of boats and fishing net used.
      Bottom trawling nets are a major problem. Also the fine mesh nets used by Indian fishers destroy a lot of small fry and plankton and thereby hurt the fish population. The south Indian coastal marine resources have been wrecked by these techniques and they are now out to destroy ours.

      • 2
        3

        Look at the boats in custody. Can they do bottom trawlering? No. Learn a thing or two before commenting SJ. These are just innocent small time fishermen. Plenty of them. Allow them to fish in the north. No impact on 95% of Sri Lankans.

        • 0
          0

          G
          G
          Are the boats in custody the only ones? (I also mentioned fishing nets.)
          The South Indian coast has been depleted of much of its fish.
          Take a look at
          Indian trawlers in Sri Lanka and issues associated – Insights
          available at
          http://www.insightsonindia.com
          *
          There is plenty more for you to even hear about before instructing others to learn

  • 4
    6

    Dear LN

    Can you interview all the TNA MP’s and report back to us on this subject please. Ask Hon Sampanthar for national solutions please. Send him to meet the thief’s and crooks in Tamil Nadu and come and report back to the Tamil Fisherman. They can take the Indian officials based in the Jaffna diplomatic office too with them so they are allowed into India.

    Better still we should send the entire TNA delegation for renegotiating territorial waters/international maritime law and ask Ms Harris to chair the meeting please.

    I am very saddened the way you have dropped hints of Hon Devananda/His interest in the subject and then the fact he is wanted in India and then the Indians are upset etc. It sounded like you are trying to be sarcarstic here???

    Therefore it is only appropriate the FP/TULF/TNA romp go and revisit the baby brigade training camps/meet the trainers and their families/meet the refugees still loitering with Indian citizenship and passports/meet Viko the (whatever) and come and offer solution to the Tamil Fisherman. They can take the wasted/broken down boats littering our seas with them too.

    Hon Sampanthar should openly ask the Indian Navy to shoot to kill the thief’s and take care of the territorial waters….as we need a permanent solution?? We do not have resources to clean up the 1.3 billions people s***??

    • 2
      5

      (1)One other think whilst CT write articles with the hint always that Hon Devananda is wanted in India?? the focus is on mapping and each every Jaffna children molesting and poisoning training camps/the trainers/the funders/the armers/the FP/TULF and their Indian counterparts are all awaiting trials in The Hague and in Sri Lanka for their crimes that took place in our land.
      (2)All the citizens SL who lost their life looking for each one of them where the victims the children then will be spared and all others will see the gallows specially the FP/TULF masterminds.

      • 1
        5

        So when you write an article please mention all the killers or none (journalism is a neutral profession) and stay with the subject that is lost fisheries of Sri lankan for the past 70 years that should have created the biggest Indian ocean industry fed all our families and a developed Nation status well before any others in Asia. Instead the thief’s came not only plunders the nations resources but the Nation itself. Not the standardisation and the elite Tamils end up in Universities to be more loitering lawyers for TNA spin. WE needed all to work in diverse industries for progress. —

        • 1
          5

          We are looking forward to Vice President Harris an Attorney to learn the history of FP/TULF crimes day by day for the past 70 years against the people of Sri Lanka.

          We will be asking her to map the Mafia that stretch from Tamil Nadu/Singapore/Malaysia/Western Countries that her Nations security apparatus to investigate and map the crooks continue too rape our Nation.

          This is the first time we have someone in a Powerful place to put the crooks back in their place vs aspiration of the Nation for her sovereignty without ghetto politics. Should she wish to shake hands with the killers in Tamil Nadu and TNA we are watching the progress. There should be travel ban on these scums soon before the investigations start.

    • 1
      5

      There should be cleaning day where FP/TULF/TNA elected and their party followers be sent to the sea to clean up their Tamil Nadu heritage waste in our shores. This should be telecasted to the world.

      GOSL should organise this at gun point just what these rascals did in 1970-1977-1981 to Tamils people in Jaffna landed us as a Toilet washers with no home…yet manage to breed and lead family life attending parliaments….our Nations parliament.

      • 2
        6

        If TNA refuse to join Hon Devananda over and beyond the partiosan politics it is for journalist like your good selfs to interview the TNA and present your findings to the people who need the clarity why they are not joining hands with other affected Tamils and their respective representatives and their GOSL in standing up for the National interest?? Not only our fisherman need to know our Nation need to know these individuals ? the Indians need to know the collective stand of the Sri Lankans?? there voters need to know for their next election????? please do not betray us again as the party paper Suthenthiran did for 70 years please.

  • 4
    1

    The author reveals that the very same persons who did not want to take away the boats now cry at the news that the boats are to be auctioned and/or destroyed. My bets are that they now would deny that they did not want to take away the boats. There is a tussle between interests of fishermen on both sides promoted by the respective provincial politicians. The issue is such that this is essentially a problem between Central Governments of both countries and the respective Central Governments are “considerate” towards provincial interests. It is in the interests of the security of both the countries to put their foot down and say these are the territorial boundaries and you cannot transgress them. The consequence of dilly-dallying is that third countries would equip fishermen of both the sides with all sorts of gadgets, most likely on the sly, in the guise of helping to increase the yield of fishing but in reality are equipment of espionage. A stich in time saves nine and though it is inhuman and inconsiderate both countries must tell their fisherfolk not to cry if the penalty for transgression could well be to shoot on sight.

    • 1
      0

      GS
      “There is a tussle between interests of fishermen on both sides promoted by the respective provincial politicians.”
      Sadly Lanka’s northern fishers have been betrayed by their politicians. Their plea is simple. Prohibit over-fishing by Indian trawlers and the destruction of our resources.
      Indian fishing is no more a venture of individual fishers. It is big business. Many of the large boats are owned by big businessmen and politicians. The fishers who get into trouble are mere wage earners.
      *
      If the matter is left to the fishing communities of both sides with the legitimate government of the waters concerned as mediator, much can be achieved to make all working fishers winners.

      • 0
        0

        Our water are fished by trawlers from all the way to Anthira and the other side also the same from Northern India.

        We are not talking about catamarans and sails here.

        People are multi multi millioners and they use the Sri Lankan label for their products too as they fetch more money in the International market.

        The should ask the FP/TULF/TNA to publish the secret documents/study works they keep in their records for the past 70 years on North and East fisheries?? very simple just ask.

  • 4
    2

    Why not TNA politicians who always run to Modi saying ‘Modi Saranam Gachchami’ tell Modi to stop Indian fishermen from poaching in territorial waters in Sri Lanka?
    The truth is they know very well that Modi or Tamil Nadu politicians don’t care two hoots for the so called ‘Ceylon Tamils’ on this issue.

  • 3
    0

    This India-SL fishing conflict is a distraction from the fact that French and EU trawlers and Distant Water Fishing States are looting the fisheries resources off the Coasts of Sri Lanka. The Europeans never de-colonized the Indian Ocean because India is totally colonized by the US-EU Consultancy Business Raj.
    The French Colonizers of India (Pondicherry etc) are running this side show of Sri Lanka-India fisheries conflict to Divide, DISTRACT and rule the Indian Ocean.

    India’s Oceans are colonized and occupied and turned into GARBAGE DUMP by Europe – UK and US in Chagos Island, France’s colonies Reunion, Seychelles, Mauritius and other small island
    In Western Indian Ocean the French looted Somaila’s fisheries and so Somali fishermen became pirates, but that was a set up to move NATO war ships into the Indian Ocean to fight Iran and China.

  • 1
    0

    GATAM
    Rohan25
    AYATHURAY RAJASINGAM
    .
    Indira Gandhi “gifted Kachchadoova” to Sri Lanka???? What a joke!
    As we has clear evidence to prove the ownership of ALL our islets and eyots, your attempt to distort our history is hilarious.
    “Kachchadoova,” which was later known as Kachchatheevu, belonged to Sri Lanka aeons ago.
    “Kachcha” is not a Tamil or a Hindi word. It’s a Sinhala word.
    The 18th Century Dutch Map of the Island of Ceylon has clearly indicated “Kachchadoova” (“Katjetiwoe” in Dutch) as an islet belonging to the then Ceylon.
    If you check Colonial Maps; be it the Special Map of the Indian Peninsula drawn by Johann Lucas Niekamp in 1740 or the Maps of India created by Major James Rannell in 1777, you will see in every Map of India that “Kachchadoova” has been marked as a part of Ceylon.
    Moreover, During the Second World War, in order to use these islets, the British Royal Navy has sought permission from Ceylon, not India.
    After Ceylon gained full independence from the British, India was compelled to recognize Sri Lanka’s territorial rights, including the ownership of Kachchadoova (Kachchatheevu). Hence, Indira Gandhi had to sign Sri Lanka’s Maritime Boundary Agreement in 1974.

    • 2
      0

      As we have clear evidence to prove our maritime boundaries, South IndianTamils should stop making false claims of our islets.

      • 0
        1

        C
        The marine boundary was disputed until the Indira-Sirimavo deal of 1974.
        The claims are not altogether false.
        But the Indira-Sirimavo deal stands.

    • 0
      1

      Champa,
      The 18th century Dutch map also has “Panature” and “Kalture” in the south-west coast. Dutch maps can backfire on those who use them, dear Champa.

  • 0
    0

    The fact TNA does not standup for the North Fisheries protection/coastal protection speaks for volumes

    https://np.gov.lk/about/

    Not a word on fisheries and the issues mentioned here in NPC website??

  • 0
    0

    The website says the flags blue boarders indicate ocean resources??

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