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    Fishermen to withdraw stir today

    TH12FISHERMENFishermen leaders protesting the killing of K Britjo (21) allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy, decided to call off their six-day-old agitation on Monday evening after Union Ministers Pon Radhakrishnan and Nirmala Sitharaman assured them that their grievances would be addressed.

    After parleys with the two Union Ministers here on Sunday, fishermen leader U Arulanandham, who was part of the eight-member delegation which held talks with the Ministers, announced that they would call off the stir after accepting Britjo’s body at 5 p.m. on Monday.”

    We are calling off the stir as the Ministers have promised to secure the release of boats and favourably consider other demands,” he said. Ms. Sitharaman said she and Mr. Radhakrishnan suggested that the fishermen accept the body on Sunday itself and call off the stir, but the leaders said they required more time to make arrangements for the burial. As fishermen in coastal districts announced a day’s fast on Monday to express their solidarity, they would also observe fast before ending the protest, Mr. Arulanandham said.

    Fishermen leaders, P. Sesu Raja and Emirat, who were part of the delegation, however, said confusion prevailed as the decision to call off the protest was not accepted by a section of youth. The youth said they would continue the protest, Mr. Sesu Raja told The Hindu. They were holding talks with them and a clear picture would emerge only on Monday, he said.

    Mr. Radhakrishnan and Ms. Sitharaman explained to the leaders that action would be taken against the Sri Lankan naval personnel who fired at the fishermen, based on an inquiry by the Sri Lankan government and an investigation by the Marine police of Coastal Security Group (CSG), which had registered an FIR here.

    The Ministers also assured the leaders that they would secure them an appointment with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar in Delhi between March 20 and 23.

    On the release of boats, the Ministers said the Joint Working Group would discuss the issue in its April meeting and take a decision. Ms. Sitharaman addressed the fishers stating she had come as the envoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet the mother of the deceased fisherman and listen to their grievances.

    Courtesy – The Hindu

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