The Koodankulam Marine Police have registered cases against 122 fishermen from Uvari, who allegedly threatened, assaulted and detained the Assistant Director of Fisheries on high seas when he took photographs of them fishing with banned purse seine nets on Thursday.
Besides the police registering cases against these 122 persons, including 12 identified fishermen from Uvari, the Fisheries department is likely to confiscate the country boats and the purse seine nets used for fishing.
When the fishermens grievance day redressal meet was organised at Radhapuram recently with Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish in the chair, a section of the fishermen complained that some country boat fishermen were still using the banned nets and Fisheries department officials were turning a blind eye on this violation.
Ms. Shilpa, while assuring of due action against the fishermen using purse seine nets, declared later that the erring fishermens country boats and banned fishnets would be confiscated and welfare measures meant for them would not be given. She also pulled up the Fisheries department officials for not strictly enforcing the ban on purse seine nets.
Against this backdrop, Assistant Director Fisheries, Tirunelveli, Vijayaraghavan received information from a few Uvari fishermen on Thursday that some of their villagers had gone for fishing in country boats with purse seine nets.
The Assistant Director and a couple of his colleagues hired a country boat at Kooththenkuzhi, another coastal hamlet near Uvari, to venture into the sea where they saw the fishermen in 20 country boats fishing with the banned net.
Even as he was taking photographs of the fishermen using purse seine nets, the offended fishermen, after threatening them, allegedly assaulted the official and his colleagues and forcibly took them in their boats to Uvari.
They also detained the boat hired by Mr. Vijayaraghavan.
On reaching the shore, the fishermen released the boat hired by the officials and took them to a place where a kangaroo court was conducted. The officials were threatened of dire consequences if they lodged a complaint with the police. However, a few elders of Uvari, who warned the fishermen, apologised to the officials and held peace talks with them. Since the talks at Uvari failed, the second round of talks was conducted at Radhapuram. As the officials filed a complaint in this connection, the Koodankulam Marine Police registered cases against 122 fishermen on Thursday night, said a police officer privy to this incident.
Cases have been registered under Sections 280 (navigating any vessel in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life, or likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person), 341 (wrongful restraint), 147 (rioting), 353 (assaulting or using criminal force with intent to prevent or deter the public servant from discharging his duty), 294 (b) (singing, reciting or uttering any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place) and 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.