India has said that the Coast Guard vessel on patrol off IMBL in the Palk Bay was routinely investigating fishing boat namely ‘Jehovah Jireh ’on November 13, 2017 while engaged in pair trawling, which is not permitted in the waters of Tamil Nadu and has denied that any firing happened on the fishermen.
In a statement today, India said on the alleged firing incident in the Palk Bay:
“On sighting the approaching Coast Guard ship, the fishing boat ‘Jehovah Jireh’ fled away from the scene leaving its nets behind in the water and did not stop despite repeated caution by the Coast Guard ship. During the chase, the boat had also rammed into the Coast Guard ship. After a chase of 50 minutes, the boat was finally stopped and investigated and also cautioned by the Coast Guard ship to stop for checks whenever called upon by the Coast Guard.
The stopping of the fishing boat ‘Jehovah Jireh’ and subsequent investigations were carried out in a peaceful manner as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the Indian Coast Guard. There was no use of force or any firing by the Indian Coast Guard.
The attributability of injury and/or bruises, if any, on the fishermen of the fishing boat ‘Jehovah Jireh’ by the Coast Guard are wholly denied as the investigations were undertaken in a peaceful manner as per the standard of procedure.”
This denial comes after a fisherman lodged a complaint with the police in Ramanathapuram claiming that he and others came under fire from a patrol vessel in the high seas on Monday afternoon.
Hindustan Times report said:
“K P Arokiyadass who lodged the complaint and fellow fisherman S Johson showed bullets to television reporters in Ramanathapuram on Tuesday and alleged that ICG personnel on board a patrol vessel attacked them after they could not stop their trawler ‘Jehovah Jireh’ because their fishing nets had already been cast. Since the boat kept moving, the coast guard personnel opened fire, the fishermen alleged in an interview to a private television channel.
The fishermen alleged that the coast guard personnel then boarded their trawler and beat them up and asked them to learn Hindi before leaving.”