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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2858

Indian fishermen on death row: Advocates, Students, Youth, politicians rally in support.

From Malladi Rama Rao in New Delhi
New Delhi, 10 November, (

Even as an appeal is moved in Sri Lankan Supreme Court against death sentence awarded by Colombo High Court to five fishermen from Rameswaram in an alleged drug trafficking case, advocates, student –youth groups, and politician in Tamilnadu have begun to rally in support of the ill-fated fishermen from the state.

The Tamil Nadu Government has decided to foot the legal bill and sent a cheque for Rs. 20 lakh to the Indian High Commission in Colombo for the purpose. State Chief Secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath and Fisheries Secretary S. Vijayakumar contacted the external affairs ministry and inquired about the status of the case and the follow up action needed on the orders of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam for whom this case is the first test in a manner of speaking.

The Madras High Court Advocates’ Association and the Women Lawyers’ Association have condemned the death sentence awarded by the Colombo High Court and announced that their members would stage a protest boycott of the courts on Monday, Nov 10. The High Court Advocates’ Association asked Delhi to get the fishermen released immediately and told TN government to appoint a lawyer to argue the fishermen’s appeal.

Lending their support to the fishermen’s appeal case, the Tamil Youths and Students Federation and three other groups have made out a case against allowing the Sri Lankan cricket team to play in India. “We approached the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association officials and explained the issue to them,” said V. Prabhakaran, chief coordinator of the federation, according to a media report. Their demand is that the Sri Lankan team be barred until the Tamils get justice.

Sri Lankan team is in India at the invitation of the Indian cricket board as the West Indies team had abruptly cut short its tour and returned home following a tiff with their board. The visitors lost their match against the home team in Hyderabad on Sunday.

T. Subi, President, Future India Party, also is against SL teams playing in India till “the Tamils get justice”.

“The death sentence awarded to the fishermen, who have been framed, has hurt the Indian fishermen. All Sri Lankan sports teams should be banned from playing India,” he reportedly stated in Chennai.
G K Vasan, a former federal minister, who has just quit the Congress Party to float his own outfit, has demanded a lasting solution to the fishermen imbroglio.

The Government of India should find a permanent solution to the issue without any delay and bring the fishermen on death sentence back home, he said, criticising that the Modi has failed to address the knotty issue despite being in power for the past five –months.

Vasan’s father, G K Moopanar, himself a Congress veteran, parted company of the Congress for a while, floated and successfully contested elections at the head of Tamil Manila Congress, and was a part of the short-lived United Front Governments in the nineties.

Vasan has not yet announced the name of his party. Nor he spelt out the policies of his outfit. “The new outfit, under my leadership, will focus on people’s issues — be it in a remote hamlet or urban location”, he said on Sunday, adding that he would announce his party structure in Tiruchi by this month end.

“The process of getting things formalised with the appropriate authorities is under way,” he said in an apparent reference to the need to approach the Election Commission to register his party.

The new chief of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee E.V.K.S. Elangovan has alleged that SL President Rajapaksa was behind the judgment that had handed death sentence to five Tamil Nadu fishermen. “Mr. Rajapaksa was behind the judgment, and not the judiciary, because there was no democracy in Sri Lanka”, he said demanding that India should “take steps to remove” Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa, a Hindu report said on Saturday.

“Mr. Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) knows how to do this (removal of Rajapaksa as SL President). It is the duty of a super power to remove anti-people government. India is a super power”, he was quoted as saying in the dispatch.

Asked how India could interfere in the internal affairs of another country and seek to remove a democratically elected President, the TN Congress leader replied: “I do not know how Mr. Rajapaksa could be removed. But Mr. Modi will certainly know the methods. If he does not know, he can get help from the U.S., which has great experience in overthrowing regimes.”

Elangovan has an advice to the Maharashtra born - Tamil super star, Rajinikanth. “He should not join any party, including the Congress. As an artist, he should not confine himself to a particular party”.

- Asian Tribune -

The new chief of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee E.V.K.S. Elangovan
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