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Sri Lankan fisherman yearns to return home

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(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Ever since the Marine Police of the Coastal Security Group arrested Sri Lankan Tamil fisherman A. Mariadoss (37) after he was rescued and brought to the shore by Rameswaram fishermen on December 17, 2017, he has been running from pillar to post to return home.

Mr. Mariadoss, who hailed from Mannar district, was fishing on the high seas in a fibreglass boat with another fisherman, K. Andron (20), on December 16 last, when the boat, caught in squally winds, capsized.

Thrown into the sea, the two were fighting for their life, clinging to diesel and water cans when Andron drowned. Mr. Mariadoss managed to stay afloat, holding on to a diesel can, when Rameswaram fishermen rescued him. They brought him to the shore the next morning.

The Marine Police detained and produced him before Divisional Revenue Officer S. Muthumari on December 18 for necessary orders.

They arrested him under Section 3(a), read with 6(a) of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, and Section 14 of the Foreigners Act as he had no valid papers.

However, when he was produced before the District Munsiff and Judicial Magistrate Court, Rameswaram, the Magistrate ordered his release on bail, holding that he was a genuine fisherman. Later, Mr. Mariadoss was allowed to stay with his sister, who is residing in a refugee camp in Thoothukudi.

On Monday, Mr. Mariadoss, accompanied by U. Arulanandam, president of Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), petitioned Collector S. Natarajan urging him to facilitate his return to Mannar.

Mr. Mariadoss said, “My distraught wife and four daughters called me a couple of days ago and said they were at their wits’ end, and that they would be forced to commit suicide if I did not return.”

The Collector told them that he would look into the issue and initiate necessary action.

(The Hindu)

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