Coast Guard deny firing rubber bullets at fishermen (Lead)
New Delhi Nov 14 (IANS) The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday shot down reports that they fired rubber bullets at fishermen off Rameswaram and said the boat "Jehovah Jireh" was involved in illegal trawling in the waters close to Tamil Nadu.
Earlier trawl boat fishermen from Rameswaram charged the Indian Coast Guard of firing at them with rubber bullets while they were fishing.
A statement from the coast guards said the boat was engaged in "pair trawling" which was not permitted in the waters of Tamil Nadu.
"There was no use of force or any firing by the Indian Coast Guard " the statement said.
"The attributability of injury or bruises if any on the fishermen of the fishing boat Jehovah Jireh by the Indian Coast Guard are wholly denied as the investigations were undertaken in a peaceful manner as per the Standard Operating Procedures " it said.
Giving details of the incident the coast guards said that around 2.40 p.m. on Monday a patrol vessel approached the boat for investigation but as the boat approached the fishermen fled leaving their nets behind.
"On sighting the approaching coast guards ship the fishing boat Jehovah Jereh fled the scene leaving its nets behind in the water and did not stop despite repeated caution by the Indian Coast Guard ship " the coastal security force said.
The statement added that during the chase the boat also rammed into a Coast Guard ship.
"After a chase of 50 minutes the boat was finally stopped and investigated and also cautioned by the Coast Guard ship to stop for checks whenever called upon by the Coast Guard."
The Indian Coast Guard said the stopping of the boat and subsequent investigations were carried out in a peaceful manner as per the Standard Operating Procedures.