Mar 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe has said that the Indian fishermen may be shot if they intrude into the country's territorial waters, Indian media reported.
Prime Minister's statement made to a Tamil Thanthi TV just ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit next week has raised controversy, Press Trust of India reported.
Alleging that Indian fishermen were taking away the livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen in the North, Mr Wickremasinghe has reportedly said that, "If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed...Law allows me to do that."
"As far as I'm concerned, I have very very strong lines. This is our waters...Fishermen of Jaffna should be allowed to fish. We stopped them from fishing , that's why the Indian fishermen came in, they are willing to have a deal...Let's have a reasonable deal. But not at the expense of the income of the Northern Fishermen...No," Mr. Wickremasinghe was quoted as saying.
"As far as we are concerned, even today the northern fishermen are shouting why the Navy isn't defending us...We have a job explaining to them, Look these are territorial waters, but we still have to go and talk to India and sort it out," he has said.
He has asked why the Indian fishermen are crossing into Sri Lanka's waters for poaching.
"Why are you coming into our waters? Why are you fishing in our waters? Stay on the Indian side...There will be no issue...No one will shoot anyone else," he has said.
"You stay on the Indian side, Let our fishermen stay on the Sri Lankan side...Otherwise don't make accusations of Human rights violation by the Navy. You came in there".
The Sri Lankan fishermen in the North have charged that since the new Sri Lankan government wants to have good relations with India the government is ignoring the Indian fishermen's poaching and the number of Indian fishermen breaching the country's waters for illegal fishing has been increasing.
Indian media reports said there have been several cases of arrest and abduction of Indian fishermen in the last month.
The fishermen issue will be one of the main items in the agenda of the Indian Prime Minister's visit.