Sri Lankan military maintains fishing restrictions in the north
The Colombo media reported that Sri Lankan government had removed the wartime fishing restrictions. This had come after a fishermen's meeting organized as part of the government's campaign to boost its image.
This meeting was attended by several government officials, including:
- Basil Rajapaksa - President's brother and chairman of the Presidential Task Force for resettlement, development and security in the Northern Province.
- Douglas Devananda - Social Services Minister and leader of the Ealam Peoples Democratic Party, which is part of the ruling coalition.
- Nimal Perera - Deputy Fisheries Minister
- Karannagoda - Navy Commander
- Somathilake Dissanayake - Northern area commander.
- Wimal Weerawansa - Leader of National Freedom Front, a defector from Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a "key mouthpiece for the ruling alliance".
that the war had been against terrorism but the Tamil masses,
including the fishermen, know that it was a communal war unleashed against them.
the government would bring forth a “Spring of the North”, just as it had created a “Dawn of the East” after the LTTE’s defeat in the eastern province.
just like the east, the north is now under an intensified military occupation. Nearly 300,000 civilians who fled the northern war zone in the final days of the war have been incarcerated in military-run detention camps.
“You can fish not only four days a week but also 24 hours a day,”
Navy commander dismissed:
However, navy commander Karannagoda followed Rajapakse and dismissed his utterances about removing all restrictions on fishing. He declared: “The war has concluded but the terrorists have not been fully destroyed. Jaffna and island-based terrorists are still moving. Because of that, we have to take some further actions before allowing 24-hour fishing. We can’t remove the pass system. Fishing must start in places decided by the navy and fisherman must take the same route to return
You can use fishing boats fitted with 8- to 15-horsepower engines. You can go deep water fishing and you can market fish to southern Sri Lanka through the A9 road
the main road linking the south to the north, which is still closed by the military.
As for the outcome:
It is not Rajapakse’s promise which is being implemented, but the navy commander’s order. When fishermen went fishing next day at one location, the navy officer said: “You must get a pass. You can do fishing from 4 am to 7 pm. You can’t fish close to navy camps.” When one fisherman cited what Rajapakse had said, the officer retorted: “We can’t allow 24-hour fishing. If you like, you can complain to the minister.”