Twenty-two Tamil Nadu fishermen were injured in two separate attacks allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy which also briefly detained 16 of them while fishing near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits, in the second such incident in as many days.
Officials on Tuesday said a large number of fishermen from Rameswaram had set out to sea in over 600 boats yesterday and in the wee hours while they were near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka, the island naval men surrounded three boats and detained 16.
The detained fishermen were taken to a naval base in Neduntheevu and beaten up before they were released and sent back, fisheries officials said.
All the fishermen reached Rameswaram on Tuesday and one of them who was seriously injured had been shifted to Ramanathapuram Government hospital while others were treated as outpatients, they said.
In the other incident, Sri Lankan naval personnel allegedly beat up a group of six fishermen who had put out to sea from nearby Mandapam, causing head injuries to Gnanasekaran.
According to officials, the fishermen had suffered concussions and weals on their bodies. The fishermen were also warned by the Sri Lankan naval personnel against informing state authorities.
On Sunday, the Lankan navy allegedly took away at gun point the catch netted by fishermen who put to sea from here, when they were near Katchatheevu after surrounding 10 boats.
In another incident on the same day in Nagapattinam, eight fishermen of Vedaranyam village were injured in an attack allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel in mid-sea off Arukattuthurai in Tamil Nadu.
Tuesday's attack comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, charging the government with 'soft handling' the issue of Sri Lankan navy's alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen.
The ruling United Progressive Alliance key ally Dravida Munettra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi had also slammed recurring attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen and demanded that the Centre seek a strong and permanent solution to the vexed issue.