Colombo: The 97 Indian fishermen who returned home after being released by Sri Lankan authorities virtually came out of the jaws of death as they had strayed into the LTTE area, which is vulnerable to attacks by the Lankan Navy, a top official said.
“You can say they virtually came out of the jaws of death as the 97 fisherman in the trawlers had almost reached the East of Vettilaikerni waters south of the sensitive Point Pedro where we suspect LTTE movement and can fire,” the Navy spokesman Commodore D K P Dasanayake said.
“Since it was a huge contingent of Indian fishermen that was moving they could not have escaped our eyes and could have been fired on suspicion of being LTTE activists. You don’t expect us to be able to distinguish between tiger rebels and ordinary people from a distance,” he said.
Dasanayake said the fishermen were looked after well by the Sri Lankan Navy and were provided food and facilities to stay.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan authorities have urged India to stop its fishing fleet from entering the high security zones in the north-east waters as it is jeopardizing ongoing efforts to prevent the LTTE from replenishing its arsenal.
The urgent appeal was made after large clusters of Indian trawlers reached Vettilaikerni waters, south of Point Pedro on two days.