Sri Lanka: Sinhalese fishermen leave Tamil coast after arrests for arson (VIDEO)

By Athula Vithanage

Non-resident fishermen from southern Sri Lanka reluctantly gave up occupation of the northeastern coastline after three of their colleagues were detained by courts for alleged arson attack on fisherfolk huts.

Cadjan huts sheltering at least eight families in the Mullaitivu district were burnt to ashes in the early hours of Monday (13), where local fishermen were protesting environmentally destructive methods used by hundreds of settlers from the south.


Boats, fishing equipment and domestic utensils worth millions perished in the fire on the Nayaru coast, a day after the government was compelled to declare that illegal fishing would be banned.

Lakshman Fernando, Warnakulasuriya Manoj and Jagath Fernando from the Sinhala dominated south suspected of carrying out the attack were remanded until 21 August by the Mullaitivu magistrate.

Mass protest

Angered by the uninterrupted settling of southern groups, with apparent military support, local Tamil fishermen had launched a continuous mass protest earlier, forcing the fisheries minister to visit the area with Tamil National Alliance (TNA) lawmaker MA Sumanthiran.

Following discussions with local officials and fisheries representatives on 12 August, Minister Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa promised to impose a temporary ban on environmentally damaging fishing methods prompting the suspension of the ten-day protest.

The fisherfolk huts went up in flames the next day.

Four days after the announcement of the ban, the southern settlers left Mullaitivu under the protection of police.

Tamil speaking Mullaitivu is the most heavily militarized district in the island with at least one soldier for every two civilians.☐



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