In a goodwill gesture, Sri Lankan Naval personnel, often accused of using strong-arm tactics, on Thursday offered refreshments to a group of Indian fishermen from in Rameswaram when they were fishing near Katchatheevu.
The fishermen numbering around 50 were in a for a pleasant surprise as the Sri Lankan naval men surrounded them only to offer biscuits and tea near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to the island Republic in the 1970s under an agreement.
The Lankan personnel, however, offered a friendly warning asking the fishermen to fish in Indian waters and not to come too deep into their territorial waters, the fishermen said.
"When they surrounded us we thought we are going to be beaten up. But they gave us tea and biscuits," Nagarajan, one of the fishermen, said on their return to the shores.
Recurring attacks on fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan naval men in the Palk Strait, especially near Katchatheevu, known for its rich fish wealth, has been a major issue in Tamil Nadu and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has even demanded India retrieve the islet.
In a bid to prevent such attacks, a pilot project has recently been launched under which GPS devices were being fixed to boats to help the fishermen in navigation and avoid entering Sri Lankan waters.