Thousands gather at protest rally demanding search of missing fishermen
UDUPI: More than thirty thousand people from Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, and Udupi came together for a demonstration conducted by the Malpe Meenugarara Sangha (Malpe Fishermen’s Association) on Sunday, January 6 demanding immediate action for the return of seven fishermen from Malpe fishing harbour, missing for 25 days.
G Shankara, the local fishermen community leader, flagged off the demonstration. The rally took place from Malpe Port to Karavalli Bypass, Udupi. Meanwhile, the Police suspended vehicular movement for up to four kilometres from Ambalpady to Kinnimulki on National Highway (NH) 66. Fishermen in large numbers turned up from Batkal, Karwar, Mangalore and Udupi to appeal for the timely justice of the missing fishermen and their families.
The boat ‘Suvarna Thribuja’ owned by Chandrashekar Kotiyan has been untraceable off the coast of Goa since December 15, 2018. Home Minister, MB Patil and District In-Charge Minister, Jayamala visited and consoled the family members of the fishermen and the locals. “We are aware of the conditions of the fishermen families. The Home Minister has visited Udupi and will discuss with the police officials about the future course of action. The fishermen should not live in fear,” Jayamala said. She claimed, “We are confident that the seven fishermen, who were on board the boat, will return safely. The fishermen community fear that the fishermen have been kidnapped by sea pirates. The government has carried out search operations using services of Coast Guard and Indian Navy as well. The district administration has taken all the measures to ensure that search operations were carried out.”
Dayanand, a local fisherman said,” The delayed investigation is being carried out under pressure. The authorities addressed the issue but the government is careless regarding this which is why we have united to peacefully take it forward.” The local police cooperated and provided protection throughout the rally.
Malpe Fishermen’s Association President Sathish Kunder, Former Minister Pramod Madhwaraj, MLA Raghupathi Bhat, Member of Parliament from Udupi-Chikmaglur Shobha Karandlaje were few among the prominent dignitaries present during the demonstration. Jayamala accepted the memorandum on behalf of the State Government.
Featured Image Courtesy: Aayush Sinha
Edited by: Niharika Nambiar