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* Sri Lanka Navy denies alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen
Mon, Mar 12, 2012, 08:36 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka Navy vehemently denied the allegations of its personnel attacking Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu state as reported by Indian media over the weekend.

Issuing a statement the Navy said it is deeply concerned over the malicious allegations raised time to time accusing it of harassing Indian fishermen.

Indian officials have said that 16 fishermen from Rameswaram were attacked Saturday by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel when they were fishing near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in Palk Straits.

The fishermen have said that they were pelted with stones and bottles by the Navy personnel. Some fishermen have sustained injuries and their boats were damaged during the attack, they alleged.

Sri Lanka Navy rejecting the fishermen's accounts said that none of these allegations has however, been able to provide any proof regarding Sri Lanka Navy's involvement.

"Most have been found to be mere hearsay and accusations based on ill intentions aimed at straining the good relations between the two friendly neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka and India," the Navy said.

An official spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs has told media that the Ministry has asked the High Commission in Colombo to take it up the alleged attack with the relevant Sri Lankan authorities.

"Being a responsible naval force, Sri Lanka Navy adheres to International Maritime Laws and carries out surveillance and patrolling accordingly in the defence of Sri Lankan waters," the statement emphasized.

Recalling that on numerous occasions, Sri Lanka Navy has come to the rescue of Indian fishermen in distress on humanitarian grounds and provided them with assistance using its vessels and personnel, the Navy said it always provides humanitarian assistance to local and foreign fishermen in distress.

"It will continue its humanitarian operations in future and make available its expertise in rescuing and providing protection to sea farers when they are in difficulty in Sri Lankan waters," the statement further stressed.

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