VP Ansari takes up fisherman killing issue with Sirisena

RSTV Bureau

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena has ordered a thorough probe into the killing of an Indian fisherman allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, Vice President Hamid Ansari said after raising the issue with him in Jakarta.

Ansari had a bilateral meeting with Srisena in the Indonesian capital on the sidelines of the Summit of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), hours after the incident was reported.

“Yes, it was discussed,” the Vice President said when asked whether the killing of the Tamil fisherman allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy figured in his meeting with Srisena.

Vice President M Hamid Ansari meeting with the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, on the sidelines of 20th Indian Ocean Rim Association Leaders' Summit, in Jakarta, Indonesia

Vice President M Hamid Ansari meeting with the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, on the sidelines of 20th Indian Ocean Rim Association Leaders’ Summit, in Jakarta, Indonesia

Ansari, during his interaction with the accompanying media persons while returning from Jakarta after a two-day visit, said, “The President said he had heard about it this morning and that he had spoken to the Chief of Sri Lankan Navy who had said that no such incident from the side of the Sri Lankan forces took place.”

He said Srisena told him that he has ordered “full investigation” into the matter.

Sources said that the Vice President had candidly conveyed to Srisena that something must be done by Sri Lanka about the recurring problem related to the Tamil fishermen as part of confidence-building measures.

In New Delhi, the foreign ministry said, “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 (Ranil Wickremesinghe). The Sri Lankan navy has promised a full and thorough investigation.”

The 22-year-old fisherman was shot dead on Monday  while he was fishing in a mechanised boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet. Fishermen in Tamil Nadu alleged that he was killed by the Lankan navy while another was injured.

Apart from this incident, as many as 76 Indian fishermen are in captivity of Sri Lanka.

The incidents related to the Tamil fishermen have been leading to rise in passions in Tamil Nadu off and on.

Meanwhile Ansari returned home on Tuesday night after his two-day visit to Jakarta, where he attended a summit of the 21-nation Indian Ocean Rim Association.

At the summit, Ansari pressed the countries sharing the Indian Ocean to show “zero-tolerance” towards state-sponsored terrorism, and in an apparent reference to Pakistan asked them to isolate the backers of the menace.

He also put forth India’s vision for a peaceful region and seas around it.

Jakarta: Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari with other delegates at the 20th IORA summit in Indonesia, March 7, 2017. Photo - RSTV

Jakarta: Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari with other delegates at the 20th IORA summit in Indonesia, March 7, 2017.
Photo – RSTV

The IORA summit was themed ‘Strengthening maritime cooperation for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indian Ocean.’

The association comprises India, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

It also has seven Dialogue Partners – the US, China,  Egypt, France, Germany, Japan and the UK