Chennai: The Coastal Security Group (CSG), which falls under Tamil Nadu police, has registered a first information report (FIR) against the central Indian Coast Guard (ICG) after fishermen in the state complained of attacks.
A case has been registered under three sections including IPC 307, attempt to murder, over the allegations by fishermen from Rameswaram.
The fishermen alleged that they were shot at by ICG personnel while fishing about five nautical miles away from the coast on Monday.
While incidents of firing and attacks at sea have long troubled fishermen from Tamil Nadu, these have usually come from the Sri Lanakan navy.
“Now, even the Indian government attacks us," said B. Jesuraja, Ramanathapuram district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association.
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According to the fishermen who were at sea, ICG vessel Rani Abbakka intercepted their mechanized boat and opened fire with rubber bullets.
K. Pichai Arokiyadass and S. Johnson, who sustained injuries, produced a 0.22 cm diameter aluminium bullet as proof, The Hindu reported.
The complaint filed by Arokiyadass said that ICG personnel stopped the trawler, climbed into the boat and beat them with sticks and iron rods for failing to stop the trawler.
The fishermen said the ICG personnel asked them if they knew Hindi and when the fishermen replied in the negative, the coast guard personnel beat them again and told them to learn Hindi.
The ICG said: “No fishermen have been fired upon by any coast guard ship in Palkbay. Further, rubber bullets are not used by ICG ships."
“It may be an attempt by the fishermen to divert the attention as they were checked and warned by the Indian Coast Guard ship for paired trawling and non-stopping when directed to do so," it added in a statement.
Paired trawling is not authorized in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The ICG also said that the fishing boat Jehovah Jireh “ran away" on seeing the approaching ICG ship. The boat crew was interrogated and was cautioned for not halting the boat for security checks, the release said.
The fishermen have decided to observe a one-day strike on Wednesday and stage a demonstration in Rameswaram on Thursday.