Four fishermen from Nagapattinam were allegedly assaulted and robbed of their equipment mid-sea by a group of unidentified Sri Lankan assailants when they were fishing near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in Point Calimere on Saturday.

The victims were identified as brothers Pradeep (34), Prakash (32), Praveen (30) and Thirumarugan (26). The four fishermen from Seruthur village in Keelaiyur block had gone fishing in their father Sabapathy’s FRP motor boat on September 21 morning.

While fishing a few nautical miles southeast of Point Calimere on Saturday night, a group of seven Sri Lankan assailants in motor boats confronted them at around 8 p.m. Notably, the fishermen had extended their activity for a day on Saturday as they had to compensate for the investment for the trip to the sea.

As they were catching seer fish, the assailants, brandishing sharp weapons, assaulted them and seized their fishing net, GPS, mobile phones and their catch worth thousands of rupees. “Sri Lankans spoke to us in Tamil. They threatened us to give our equipment and catch. When we resisted, they assaulted us, took our belongings, and fled the spot,” said Pradeep.

The injured fishermen returned to Seruthur in their motorboat on Sunday morning and were taken to Nagapattinam Government General Hospital. A case has been registered at the Marine Police Station in Velankanni. RMP Rajendira Nattar, the president of the Indian National Fishermen Union, said, “We doubt the involvement of the Sri Lankan government.

Why is the Union government silent on such recurrent sea attacks? How do such assaults continue despite the presence of law enforcement agencies such as the Navy? If Sri Lanka is still a friendly country, they should arrest the assailants.”