Killing of fisherman in Persian Gulf: India calmly sad; SDPI condemns

By TCN News,

New Delhi: India has reacted with calm over the killing of an Indian fisherman and wounding of three others by US Navy in the Persian Gulf on Monday. India’s External Affairs Ministry said its officials both in Washington and Dubai are in close contacts with the concerned officials of the two countries to ascertain all facts leading to the incident. Meanwhile, the United States has expressed its condolences over the incident.

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The fishermen belonged to Tamil Nadu state in India. The dead fisherman has been identified as Sekar of Periyapattinam in Ramanathapuram district. The injured are Muniraj, Panpuvan and Murugan who also hail from Ramanathapuram.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the case with the US and UAE. In a letter to Dr Singh, she said Indian embassy officials may be asked to render all necessary medical and other assistance to the three injured. “As the dead and injured fishermen are innocent fishermen who were conducting fishing in the sea only for their livelihood, please ensure that justice is rendered,” she said. The Chief Minister also announced a relief of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased Sekar and Rs 50,000 each to the three injured.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu chapter of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has condemned the killing of Indian fisherman. The group has demanded the Central Government to bring the dead body of the fisherman to his home at its own cost. SDPI also demanded the government to announce relief package for the family of the diseased and those wounded.

According to media reports, on Monday, the Rappahannock, a United States Navy fuel supply ship, had just passed through the Strait of Hormuz when it opened fire on a 50-foot fishing boat moving toward it, killing one Indian and wounding three others. The U.S. officials said the incident was under investigation. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi released a statement expressing “its condolences to the families of the crew of a small motor vessel … after the vessel disregarded non-lethal warnings and rapidly approached the U.S. ship.”

The Indian Government in its reaction on Tuesday said: “The U.S. Government has officially confirmed that a U.S. Navy vessel fired shots at a fishing vessel near the port of Jebel Ali, Dubai at about 3.00 PM UAE local time on 16 July 2012. According to UAE officials, one Indian fisherman was killed in the firing incident and three other Indians were injured. We are deeply saddened by the loss of life of the Indian fisherman and the injuries sustained by the others. Our thoughts are with their families.”

The External Affairs Ministry further said that India Embassy in Washington D.C. has been in touch with the United States Government since midnight IST yesterday. The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi is working with local authorities to carry out full investigation into the circumstances leading to this unfortunate and tragic incident. The Acting Consul General is in Jebel Ali to provide all necessary assistance.

“We will stay in regular touch with U.S and UAE authorities to ascertain full facts and take appropriate further action in the matter,” read the statement from the chief spokesperson of the ministry on Tuesday.