Even as the Indian government pressed Sri Lanka for a thorough probe into the killing of an Indian fishermen, Sri Lanka said an initial probe had ruled out its navy’s involvement in the incident. India had taken up the issue with Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The 22-year-old Indian fisherman was shot dead on Monday while he was fishing in a mechanised boat a short distance off Katchatheevu islet. Local fishermen alleged that he was killed by the Sri Lankan navy while another was injured.
In New Delhi, the foreign ministry said, “Government of India is deeply concerned at the killing of an Indian fisherman. Our high commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with the prime minister of Sri Lanka (Ranil Wickremesinghe). The Sri Lankan navy has promised a full and thorough investigation.”
Sri Lankan navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chaminda Walakuluge in Colombo categorically denied any involvement of its navy in the fisherman’s killing, saying the navy did not open fire at poaching fishermen and only arrested them.
In a statement, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, “The initial investigations had indicated that the Sri Lankan navy was not involved. Irrespective of the parties involved, if in fact a shooting has taken place, it is a matter of grave concern and all possible action will be taken in cooperation with the relevant Indian authorities to investigate into this incident utilising GPS technology as well.”
The killing has triggered protests in Tamil Nadu, where chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami condemned the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the victim’s family.