Tamil Nadu fishermen

How Many Indian Tamilnadu Fishermen did Sri Lankan Navy Kill?

Usha Ramanathan

TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2009 (ID. 2009-06-01); Updated September 2012
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I have been writing for over a decade about Sri Lankan Navy shooting and killing Tamilnadu fishermen. How many fishermen have been killed? I have read various numbers from various quarters. Some people have a vested interest in minimizing the number and some have a vested interest in maximizing the number. Those in power in New Delhi at the Indian central government and political parties and leaders allied with them try to downplay the number. Those opposed to them try to overplay the numbers. In my opinion, the best source is established newspapers not allied with any political party.

I present here the death toll reported by Dinamani. This is one of the oldest Tamil newspapers with a large subscription base. It was founded in 1933. It is presently owned by Express Madurai Limited that also publishes the English daily The New Indian Express that is published from 22 locations in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Orissa. As of this time, to the best of my knowledge, Express Madurai Limited or The New Indian Express or Dinamani is not owned by or affiliated with any political party.

July 16, 2008 issue of Dinamani stated that Sri Lankan navy had shot and killed over 250 Tamil Nadu fishermen just in the past 2 years.

Indian government however gives a much lower number. Indian Defense Minister said in 2007 that Sri Lankan navy had shot and killed 77 Tamil Nadu fishermen between 1991 and mid April 2007. Indian government, of course, has a vested interest in downplaying the numbers because it is doing nothing effective to stop these murders in the sea.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and President of DMK, which is presently a member of the ruling coalition at the Indian central government, told reporters on August 20, 2012, "Between 1991 and 2011 there were 167 attacks on Tamil fishermen in which 85 persons were killed and 180 injured". Most likely he got the information from the Indian government and this may be an update to the information the Indian Defense Minister provided in 2007 (see previous paragraph).

Some others put the death toll much too higher. Asia Time Online reported on February 23, 2011 that, "Over the years, around 400 fishermen have lost their lives, over 2,000 have been injured and about 90 have gone missing". Asia Time Online did not specify the time frame of these 400 deaths. There were newspaper reports of killings in the 1990s and if Asia Time Online included the deaths from all those years is not clear.

Even if we are to take the Indian government count of 77 (1991 to April 2007), that is too many killings.


A REQUEST AND SUGGESTION: It would be a great service if some organization, may be a fishermen's association or Tamil Nadu Government, would documents all deaths so far, listing each individual case with name, address, date of death, location of shooting, location of death (in case the shot and injured fisherman died later in hospital), references to police reports, references to any other complaints filed with the Indian or Tamilnadu government, hospital reports, etc. A similar list should be prepared for injuries also, including details of the nature and severity of injury and references to hospital reports.


RELATED ARTICLES

1. Killings of Tamil Nadu Fishermen in the Sea

2. Search the Internet for Usha Ramanathan fishermen Tamil Nadu Sri Lanka. You will find about a number of articles.

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