Fishermen in Ramwswaram on Sunday demanded the setting up of an enquiry commission to probe the death and alleged torture of four of their community members whose bodies were found one after the other after they went missing on April 2.
Meeting Minister for Slum Clearance Su Ba Thangavelan who comforted the families of the fishermen whose bodies were washed ashore, CITU District President Gnanaseelan requested that in view of the hardship faced by the fishermen in this region, an enquiry commission be set up "to punish the guilty and save the fishermen".
He told the Minister that the body of one of the deceased fishermen, Victus, was found to bear many cuts and the right hand of another deceased fisherman, Johnpaul, had been chopped off.
The Minister, who handed over a cash assistance of Rs 10,000 each of the bereaved families, told PTI that the solatium of Rs 5 lakh announced by the Tamil Nadu government would be released after getting permission from the Election Commission and the children of the deceased would be provided food under the Noon Meal Scheme when the DMK government "came back to power" after the elections.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to take immediate steps to stop the "inhuman activities" of the Sri Lankan Navy, the Minister added.
The body of Marimuthu, one of the four fishermen who had gone missing since April 2 after putting out to sea from here, was yesterday found washed ashore at Kodiakarai in Nagapattinam District.
With the recovery of Marimuthu's body, all the four fishermen missing were confirmed dead. The bodies of the other three were recovered earlier, fisheries and police officials had said.
Marimuthu along with Victus, Anthony and Johnpaul, all three hailing from Thangachimadam in Nagapattinam district, had ventured into the sea on April 2 but did not return after two days as scheduled.
Local fishermen have alleged that all their four colleagues had been tortured to death by Sri Lankan naval personnel and the bodies dumped by them one by one into sea.