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The Madras High Court’s Madurai bench Friday directed the central government to provide two-tier security for Indian fishermen by the Indian Coast Guard and navy.

In an interim order made while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer B.Stalin, the court directed deployment of sufficient numbers of Coast Guard vessels to see that Indian fishermen, and more particularly fishermen from Tamil Nadu, are not subject to atrocities of tne Sri Lankan Navy.

“We had asked for three-tier security for the Indian fishermen — posting of Coast Guard officials on the fishing boats and deployment of naval ships and aerial protection by the Indian Air Force as is being done in the Arabian Sea as a protection against pirates,” Peter Ramesh Kumar, counsel for Stalin, told IANS from Madurai over phone.

He said the court has ordered in favour of first two — spot security — posting of Coast Guard personnel on the fishing boats and their supervision by the Indian Navy.

The court ordered a senior naval officer to supervise the security arrangements.

The decision on provision of security cover by the air force will be made by the court Nov 16, Kumar added.

Speaking to IANS, Stalin said: “For the security of cricketers, Indian armed forces are being deployed. Why the same could not be done to protect the fishermen who are also Indian citizens and hence the PIL?”

There had been several instances of Indian fishermen being attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look at the Sri Lankan Navy attacks on Indian fishermen hailing from the state as a national issue and not as an isolated problem of Tamil Nadu alone.

In a letter to Manmohan Singh, she said: “I would also like to emphasise that the harassment of the fishermen of Tamil Nadu should be viewed as an act of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka, similar to acts of firing across the borders of India by neighbours such as Pakistan and China.”

“The attack on the fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu should be viewed as a national issue and not as an isolated problem of Tamil Nadu alone,” she added.

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