The killing of an Indian fisherman by Sri Lankan navy men on Monday has snowballed into a major controversy with protests spilling over to streets in Tamil Nadu. Media reports suggest that the Centre conveyed its concern to the Sri Lankan government over issue. "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," sources in the government told Times of India.
According to media reports, Sri Lankan government has promised a full and thorough investigation into the incident.
Britso, 22, a fisherman from Thangachimadam, Rameswaram, was shot dead on Monday, while he was fishing in a mechanised boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet. Two more fishermen reportedly suffered injuries in the firing. Hundreds of fishermen staged a demonstration at Thangachimadam, demanding the arrest of the Lankan navy men involved in the incident.
The kin of the victim refused to take Britso's body unless foreign minister Sushma Swaraj visits the island and gives them assurance that such incidents will not happen in the future. Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia for the victim's family and Rs 1 lakh for the fishermen injured in the shooting. The chief minister said the Lankan Navy opened fire on the innocent fishermen, without any warning or provocation, at 9.30 pm.
In the past also, many Indian fishermen had lost their lives due to firing by Sri Lankan navy men. The Centre should find a permanent solution to the issue before it goes out of hand. It is possible that vested interests would whip up passions as it was witnessed in the wake of Supreme Court verdict on jallikkattu.