Jan 08, Chennai: An Indian court today directed the central Indian government to file a counter affidavit on a petition filed against the controversial sale of two naval warships to Sri Lanka.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court in Chennai hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed on the sale has directed the Union Government to file a counter affidavit, without fail on January 20.
The judges hearing the petition have expressed serious concern over the frequent arrests of the Tamil Nadu fishermen and alleged attacks on them by the Sri Lankan Navy.
A civilian, an advocate has filed PIL petition in the Madras High Court Monday seeking the court to direct the central government of India to cancel the proposed sale of two naval warships to Sri Lanka.
The petitioner has expressed fears that these warships could be used against the Tamil Nadu fishermen who are continually arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for intruding into Sri Lanka's territorial waters for fishing.
"It has become a habit of targeting the Tamil fishermen in the mid sea," the judges of the bench have been quoted by Indian media. They have questioned why the Indian Navy was not intervening to end the fishermen's ordeal.
The bench has said that the issue cannot be neglected when the Chief Minister of the state moves a resolution in respect of the sentiments of the people and therefore, ordered the center government to file a counter affidavit without fail on January 20.
The Union Minister for State in the Prime Minister's Office, V. Narayanasamy has recently confirmed the sale of two warships to Sri Lanka but said the decision to sell the two warships had been made based on an agreement signed few years ago.