Tamil

Indian Government Defends Sri Lankan Navy in Court (Attacks on Tamil Nadu Fishermen)

Usha Ramanathan

TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 2012 (ID. 2012-09-02); Updated 2017-03-01
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Petitions seeking protection to Tamil Nadu fishermen from the Sri Lankan Navy were filed in Tamil Nadu courts in 2011. There was a court hearing in August 2012. Indian Government Additional Solicitor General told the court on August 17, 2013 that there was no chance of the Sri Lankan Navy entering the Indian waters and attacking Tamil Nadu fishermen as such movement by Sri Lankan warships would amount to waging a war against India.

India did not show any evidence, for example, verifiable satellite photos showing that no Sri Lankan warship was in Indian waters on the day and approximate time of the attacks. India's defense of the Sri Lankan Navy is novel. Sri Lankan Navy vessels entering Indian waters would be war; so they did not enter Indian waters; so Sri Lankan Navy did not attack Tamil Nadu fishermen in Indian waters. (Actually, in most instances, Sri Lankan Navy denies attacking Tamil Nadu fishermen either in the Indian or Sri Lankan waters.)

Does this argument hold good only if those attacked are Tamils? There are many incidents in which India said that Pakistani army had intruded into Indian territory and a gun battle between Indian and Pakistani soldiers ensued. How could it be? There was no chance of the Pakistani Army entering the Indian soil and shooting at Indian soldiers since such movement by Pakistani army would amount to waging a war against India!!! If the argument holds good in case of Sri Lanka, it should hold good in case of Pakistan too!

We suggest that instead of making "ridiculous arguments" defending the Sri Lankan Navy, Indian government take the attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen seriously and take firm action against Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram was right on target when she said, "The Sri Lankan Navy, emboldened by the soft handling of the issue by the Government of India, is attacking/harassing fishermen of Tamil Nadu with impunity" (her letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in August 2012).

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