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Rediff.com  » News » Reports about SL Navy ramming Indian boat turn out to be false

Reports about SL Navy ramming Indian boat turn out to be false

November 01, 2011 16:32 IST

Certain media reports had recently claimed that on Sunday, a Sri Lankan Navy ship had rammed into an Indian fishing vessel, sinking it.

On Monday, Rediff.com visited Rameswaram to probe this story further and found that the boat in question belonged to one Alex. Alex stays at Victoria Nagar in Thangachimadam, Rameshwaram.

On the fateful day, the boat had gone fishing with four men on board, including Alex's son Reagan. The boat had left the harbour along with 595 other boats that were carrying as many as 2,200 fishermen.

Alex's boat had crossed the International Maritime Border Line between India and Sri Lanka.

Soon, they spotted a vessel of the Sri Lankan Navy heading in their direction. Alex and the other fishermen immediately turned their boat around in an attempt to flee.

The sudden swerving of the boat, coupled with a fierce gust of wind, made the boat overturn. In spite of the fishermen's attempts to rescue it, the boat begin to sink.

The four men on the boat jumped overboard and swam to the nearest fishing boat. There was no incident of being rammed by the Sri Lankan Navy vessel.

The next day, Alex took to the seas, along with five other boats, to find the one lost the previous day.

S P Rayappan, the leader of a fishermen's group in Rameswaram, said, "Close encounters with the Lankan Navy is a regular affair here. But this time, the news was wrong. I don't know who passed on this story to the fisheries ministry or the press".

Speaking on a report by Sun TV -- about Indian fishermen being attacked near Katchathieevu island -- Rayappan said he did not know of any such incident.

Rayappan spends a considerable time of his day at the fishing harbour and it is unlikely that he would miss out on such a major incident.

This kind of false information may have been spread by Tamil nationalists, who on one hand are trying to defame the Lankan Navy and on the other, publicly defending Rajiv Gandhi's assassins.

The boats used by the fishermen are usually worth over Rs 5 lakh, but they are insured for only Rs 50,000.

A Ganesh Nadar