A major protest took place in Mannar town on March 23 against alleged plans to issue licenses to Indian fishermen to engage in fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

Activists from fisheries, women, civil society and political groups took part in the agitation demanding a halt to large-scale poaching by Indian fishing vessels.

They especially took exception to a remark by foreign minister Ali Sabry that negotiations were ongoing to allow Indian fishermen to do fishing in Sri Lankan seas.

He told parliament that preventing several thousands of Indian fishing vessels from entering the northern waters on a daily basis was impractical for the Navy.

The minister was responding to a question raised by TNA MP Charles Nirmalanathan on steps taken diplomatically to resolve the Indo-Lanka fishing issue.

Carrying banners and placards, the protestors marched from the public playground to the heart of the town and urged minister Sabry to immediately withdraw the plan.

They handed over a petition, intended for the attention of the president, to the district secretary.

All shops in the town remained closed in support of the fishermen’s agitation.



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