Intensifying their five-day old indefinite boycott of fishing pressing for safety and security in traditional areas in the Palk Bay, fishermen of this district on Monday held a demonstration in front of the Collectorate here.
The fishermen have been boycotting fishing since July 24 highlighting their demands including putting an end to frequent "arrests and harassment" by Sri Lankan Navy personnel.
District Collector K Nandhakumar, who addressed the fishermen, informed them about the steps being taken by the state government both legally and through the Centre to ensure their peaceful fishing activities.
He also asked them not to resort to any agitation that would weaken the efforts of the state government.
Following this, they withdrew their decision to handover the Registration Certificate (RC) books of their boats to the District Collector.
However, the fishing boycott would continue, local fishermen association leaders S Emerit and T Sesuraja said.
They pleaded with the Collector to replace the three boats that got sunk while being brought from Sri Lanka, and also secure the release of 38 fishermen and 56 boats in Lankan custody. The Collector assured that their boats would be replaced in due course.
On their demand for a meeting with the officials of the Centre, he said he would arrange for it through the state government.
The two leaders also said the fishermen would hoist white flags on their boats tomorrow and proceed to Katchatheevu on Aug 2 with their families to "surrender" to Lankan officials so that they would at least be able to survive and earn their livelihood peacefully.