Sri Lankan minister threatens protest in India

A Sri Lankan minister has threatened to take some 5,000 fishermen to India to protest against poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters.

Government Minister Douglas Devananda said he will lead the protest to give a message to India that livelihood of the country's fishermen is affected due to poaching by Indian fishermen.

"The Indians enter Sri Lankan waters illegally in large trawlers and engage in large scale fishing. This not only affects the livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen in the north but it also has an impact on our fishing resources. To stop this we have decided to launch a protest," Devananda said in a statement.

Indian and Sri Lankan fishing associations have been meeting frequently to address the issue but Devananda said a concrete solution has not yet been reached.

He noted that Indian fishermen continue to enter Sri Lankan waters illegally to catch fish and so he has decided to take some 1,000 boats and 5,000 fishermen by sea to Rameshwaram in India to press the government there to stop the practice, Xinhua reported.

However, Sunday's statement did not mention a date as to when the protest will be carried out.

The Sri Lankan minister also noted that having meetings between fishermen from both countries to address this issue will not suffice and instead both Indian and Sri Lankan governments must also have direct talks on the issue.

The minister had also recently called for joint patrolling between India and Sri Lanka along the international maritime boundary line of both countries.

Indian fishermen often accuse the Sri Lankan Navy of attacking them when they catch fish near the boundary line or in Sri Lankan waters.

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