Whoâs shooting Indian fishermen?
SHOOTING INCIDENT: One Shah Jehan (SJ) writimg to a local English
daily supposedly from South India, uses the question âputâ to him by an
Indian âfriendâ regarding Kachchitivu âWho shot the Indian fishermen?â
pursuing a covert campaign to cause as much collateral damage on SL
especially its Navy, media and Government.
SJ would have us believe that he finally plucked courage to say
âCould they not be the LTTEâ although being home sick he repeatedly kept
âmumâ to all the other aspersions he says the âfriendâ cast on SL
regarding the incident.
He praises India and especially its media which apparently is
forthright in such circumstances.
He seems to be ignorant that whenever there is a terrorist incident
in India, Pakistan is, except for the recent Peace Express incident,
instantly accused and found guilty by the Indians. He also says
Tamilnadu politicians find it âdifficult to look at each otherâs facesâ.
So SJ of SL says he could not respond to the Indianâs presumptions of
how terrible we are which must not come as a surprise to the readers of
He even says that the South Indian fishermen, who despite the
violence continue to âfishâ in troubled SL waters, have said they will
meet âviolence with violenceâ âfire with fireâ.
One senses some vicarious glee in his remarks; as otherwise there is
no purpose for âfishermenâ to air such extremely blood thirsty threats
presumably to the SLN. Such threats may reveal their real identities
either as terrorist supporters or followers of the skull and cross bones
Whatever, they without any hesitation have with steadfastly âfishedâ
in the past 25 years cavorting with terrorists if not smugglers or even
pirates in SLâs maritime waters and getting quid pro quo.
The unsaid question is will SJ take their side as he has done in this
article when they âfireâ? He for good reason hasnât said whether if at
all the Indian authorities reacted to this release of hot air that
appears to have burnt a searing if not heart rending hole in SJâs media
According to SJ, the Indians have already lost â300â lives with 1000
injured in these âincidentsâ which he âwho never to himself has said
this is my own my native landâ blames on the SLN.
Whoever is to blame, this death and the associated violence are to be
very greatly regretted, whether the victims are innocent fishermen or
not and whether the figures are wantonly and grossly exaggerated or not.
Every action must be taken to prevent them from happening. It is good
that the Tamil Nadu government once again as in the past 25 years
intends to take the initiative. It does appear they have been lax about
it for unknown reasons.
However, when one remembers that this âfishingâ violence has been
ebbing and flowing in the same seas for over 25 years, these figures
should not stun anyone.
The rewards of these incidents must be extremely high, not just
because the prized lobsters and prawns around Kachchitivu which find
their way to gourmet dining rooms abroad are found here and are hotly
contested for by both Indian and SL fishermen but because there may be
bigger rewards in helping terrorists who have recourse to huge amounts
of funds received from the Diaspora, murder, illegal taxes, extortions,
kidnappings and robberies.
It was the Central Government of India without much understanding of
the problem or even having consulted the South Indians that conceded
Kachchitivu to SL. Will they chose to misunderstand again is what SJâs
trial balloon is about.
Interestingly if not amazingly, one Vaiko according to SJâs source in
Madras, the Indian Navy and Coastguard are alleged to be both âmuteâ and
also âhand in gloveâ with the SLN in these incidents.
Vaiko is an unabashed terrorist aficionado and a communal maverick.
One would say his reaction is typical of a dwindling section of the
Madrasi politicians that would shamelessly accuse the proud and
honourable Indian Navy, the biggest and most formidable in the Indian
Ocean and protector of the Indian sea coast to being in cahoots with the
SLN and acquiescing in the killing of Indian fishermen.
After all there was a time these same anti Indian Madrasis
shamelessly let their parochial feelings overcome them to openly
denigrate their own army (IPKF) after the latterâs ill conceived
âinterventionâ in SL from 1987 to 1991.
For SJ to repeat such damaging aspersions on the Indian Navy would
also be sadly but typically irresponsible and no different to the
behaviour of the rumours mongers he gave ear to.
While SJ has been able to size up the innermost feelings of the
âfishermenâ and quote Vaikoâs allegations without any restraint or
comment, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanithi, quoted as saying âwe
cannot tolerate any more killings of Tamil fishermen by the SLNâ,
standing as a LTTE supporter, until the discovery of a tons of
explosives surreptitiously brought in by the LTTE brought him down hard
to Mother India.
He has now urged the Indian Prime Minister just to instruct the
Lankan Government toâ âdesistâ from firing on innocent Tamil Nadu
fishermen. âDesistâ is not the same as âkillingâ as Karunanithi well
knows but not SJ.
The SLN which must protect the territorial integrity of SL at the
cost of their lives if need be, carry out their orders as meticulously
as they are aware that in the seas it is not only difficult to define
boundaries or identify terrorists mingling with âfishermenâ especially
when they try to escape when ordered to stop.
They will certainly desist from firing on âinnocentsâ whoever they
are and wherever they are from. SJ goes on to describe how a âfloating
tin canâ in Ramanathpuram suddenly exploded critically injuring two
fishermen. That is the bloody reality of this stretch of water.
If cans âfloatingâ in the sea are explosives, it is not inconceivable
that they were brought there by part time innocent âfishermenâ aiding
the terrorists full time or vice versa. Either way the people concerned
in âfloating bombsâ stand to incur the wrath of the SLN and
unfortunately for them, face prejudicial and sudden extreme violence.
Our press has nearly a 200 year history which not only India but many
developed countries will find hard to equal.
It has been described as âmischievousâ and âcheekyâ by foreigners but
according to SJ, it is also âvague, unbelievable, unauthenticatedâ, and
ânot as free as in Indiaâ. Apparently we do not also âspeak about our
grievancesâ and âdo not have a platformâ. We also âkept mum about the
Kachthativu shootingâ. He asks why and says India has 24 hour TV of
âunrestricted, unfiltered, and undistorted newsâ.
Who would believe it if Shah Jehan did not tell us. What a pity SJ
has forgotten how though there is a very horrible level of terrorist
violence going on here, equal it is said by the same media at times to
Iraq, the media viciously and with little restraint often criticise
everyone in the land including the Executive President.
Sure some journalists have been murdered here due to there being
criminals in uniform such as those who killed Richard de Zoysa after
torturing him brutally. Donât such things happen in other parts of the
world too ?
But the perpetrators here have either been brought to book or been
dealt equitably by fate. Where else in the world do media get to perform
more ghoulishly than in SL by âpersuadingâ the police to remove the
covering sheets and expose the faces of corpses of murdered people to TV
cameras? Maybe SJ too should have kept âmumâ.
The resilient SL media survive Rs 500 million damages suits filed in
court by making âarrangementsâ. Has SJ not noticed why despite notoriety
some vastly rich people rarely have a bad press thereafter?
May be they do it differently in India where not so long ago in Delhi
a very rich man was found to have dismembered and worse and buried over
20 children while the police ignored the complaints of their pitifully
Where was the Indian media then or at the destruction of the Babri
Having a very high level of literacy and education which is also free
up to tertiary level, SL universities have the most militant undergrads
anywhere in the world.
They air their âgrievancesâ ferociously with the abandon of lunatics
on âplatformsâ even trapeze artists would shy off. We had two youth
insurgencies and have one terrorist war with multiple baby brigade
launchers (MBBLs) still going on.
Does SJ believe that the media in SL comes from a different milieu
and is unrepresentative of the majority of the people? He may believe
from India that these things happened and happen in SL because the
people have no other âplatformâ to âair grievancesâ.
Others might believe it is so because we have had a surfeit of such
liberties. SJ might consider how free were the reports made by the
Indians when the IPKF took on the LTTE?
The LTTE normally gouges out eyes, drains the blood and batters and
chops the bodies of those it captures but will SJ ever mention these in
Or juxtapose it with how Daya Master and many other LTTE cadres were
permitted to come down to Colombo, get treatment and âchopperâ back to
their bunkers. SJ is certainly not a prophet in his own land.
One must also never forget that the Indian leaders were ready with
millions of their followers to get their heads broken by the British and
sent to prison while ours drank tea with them and received the identical
rewards of national freedom. Their media is from that very different,
It is not only in India but in many other countries that one is able
to take the government to court for their faults and errors. One can do
so in SL too and it is being done frequently.
If SJ bothers to refresh his mind he will remember that Supreme Court
on being petitioned by private citizens ruled that the merger of two
provinces by the India-SL Agreement no less was ultra vires the SL
There is no barrier as to what the private citizen can petition the
law courts in SL even if some are frivolous. SJ adds when âLankan
Tamilsâ are arrested in SL they are presumed guilty until they prove
This is quite contrary to the law as SJ even when in India must know
unless he feigns ignorance. Also does he refer to criminals or terrorist
suspects? SJ should ask the Indian police especially those in Kashmir,
Manipur and Assam or police in any other country whether they do not
differentiate. SJ is in for a reality check.
There is no difference between Sinhala, Muslim or Tamil terrorists.
The law treats them equally. However we have not yet sanctioned 10
bullets in the head for them when they are pursued.
SJ should also ask the LTTE about the five dead bodies both in
Mutturajawala and Aâpura and the judges about Trinco and Muttur without
posing these questions to the readers with Dutch courage he has
developed in India.
Maybe the parts of India SJ visited being close to a mythical
Shangri-La did not have kidnappings, murder of politicians, and influx
of boat refugees which he says occurs all the while in SL.
Do the boat people trace their efforts back to Vijayabahu? SJ should
check with Bangladesh about the present day Vijayas paddling furiously
across the Ganges and the Brahamaputra rivers into India.
It is as though what happens every day in India does not adequately
if not completely cover the gamut of crime and sedition the world knows.
Maybe SJ has nothing else to write about other than how terrible our
country. Especially the Sinhalese by implication. This surely mirrors
the views of some others well known to him.
SJ while in Madras, when odiously comparing the differences in
behaviour in India and SL might also remember what Arabs would think of
one of their own were an Arab to go to the spiritual capital of the Jews
and sing their praises.
If he thinks that by belittling the media of his country he is
drawing attention to some kind of paralysis of conscience due to an
imagined state sponsored fear psychosis, (a la Saddam?) he may be
underestimating the courage and ingenuity of his own countrymen as well
as being as guilty as Judas.