Udupi: The members of the Fishermen Association have rejected the appeal of Karnataka Home Minister M B Patil and decided to carry out their protest as scheduled. They will be closing fishing operations and holding a 'rasta roko' on NH 66 at the Karavali Junction on Sunday, January 6.
The Home Minister, along with district in-charge Minister Dr. Jayamala, visited the missing fishermen's’ families and later in the evening, held a meeting with with the top police officials of the state as well as representatives of the Navy, Coastal Guards, officials of Fishermen’s Association, district coastal MLAs, G Shankar, Yashpal Suvarna and others at the DC's office here.
After the Udupi district Superintendent of Police gave a brief of the search operation for the missing fishermen, M B Patil said that the state government, as well as Union government, has put their maximum efforts to trace the fishermen and the boat since the day the complaint was lodged. Several meetings were held with various concerned departments. The main intention of the governments is to trace the missing boat as soon as possible. Since the fishing boat had gone missing near the Maharastra border, a meeting was held with the Maharastra Home Minister. "It is unfortunate that we have not been able to trace the missing boat and fishermen despite the continued efforts of the concerned state governments and Union government. We hope for the safe return of the fishermen," the minister said.
He then requested the leaders of the fishermen groups to withdraw their planned protest on January 6, but they informed that the fishermen of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttar Kannada districts and many others had already arrived in Udupi to participate in the protest, and therefore they cannot withdraw the protest. They also demanded that Dr. Jayamala receive their memorandum of demands at the place of protest.
The Home Minister then instructed the police to provide adequate security during the protest.
Brief of the search operations
During the meeting, the Udupi district Superintendent of Police gave a brief of the search operation for the missing fishermen. “On December 22, 2018 at 1800 hours, a complaint was received at the Malpe Police Station regarding the fishing boat owned by Chandrashekar 'Suvarna Tribhuja' bearing the registration number IND 02 MM 4632. According to the complaint, the Suvarna Tribhuja had set out for fishing operations accompanied by six other fishing boats but had not returned. Chandrashekar, accompanied by his mates Damodhar, Lakshman, Sathish, Ravi, Harish and Ramesh, left from the Malpe port for deep sea fishing on December 13 at about 2300 hours. They were in contact with the other fishermen till 0100 hours on December 15. Thereafter their whereabouts are not known,” the SP said.
He added that all police stations across India and the Coast Guard have been informed that the boat went missing on the deep seas. “Three teams from the Udupi district police and one team from the CSP have been deputed for special duty in the search for the missing boat and its occupants in Goa and Maharashtra. The teams have contacted the Navy and Coast Guard for the search operation as the boat went missing in the deep sea. They are also carrying out an aerial search using helicopters," he explained.
The Indian Coast Guard has pressed their ships, hovercrafts, Dornier aircrafts and helicopters into service to carry out a sea-air search, in coordination with commercial ships and marine police boats. He also informed that the teams of the district police and the CSP met with the jurisdictional police officers and the coastal police officers as well as the coastal police of Goa, Sindhudurg, Malwan and Ratnagiri districts of Maharastra for the investigation.
“IGP, Western Range, IGP, ISD, Karnataka and SP Udupi have personally communicated with their counterparts in the west coast states to enlisting their efforts in this regard,” the SP said. He also informed that the MHA has taken up the matter at the highest level with Ministry of Defence. The DCP, Karnataka had requested them and the JD(IS) to take up the matter with the MoD to direct the Indian Navy to intensify their search operations.
The SP then informed that he has reviewed the situation and spoken with aggrieved families. He also directed the State Police to put in all their efforts into tracing the missing fishermen along with the boat with the help of the Coast Guard, Navy and the commercial vessels.
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