Rameswaram (TN): Sixteen fishermen from this island were injured in an alleged mid-sea attack by Sri Lankan naval personnel while fishing near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in Palk Strait, police said on Sunday.

The Lankan naval personnel on Saturday attacked the fishermen with wooden logs, stones and bottles, resulting in bone fracture of a 25-year-old youth and serious injuries to others, they said.

Mathiazhagan, who suffered the fracture, has been admitted to a government hospital here, while several other fishermen, whose back were swollen with weals and bruises, were being treated at private hospitals, police said.

The youth said it was a "brutal" attack by the Lankan navalmen who surrounded 25 boats of the fishermen. "They damaged the boats, snapped the fishing nets and lashed out at us with logs and pelted stones," he said.

Meanwhile, a Fisheries Department official described the attack as a violation of human rights.

Local fishermen association leaders Sesu and Devaraj said the Sri Lankans, who had come in a Naval ship, intimidated and frightened the fishermen.

The two slammed the Centre for remaining "mute spectator" to recurring attacks on fishermen of Tamil Nadu.

Referring to the prompt action taken in recent incidents of killing of two fishermen off Kerala coast by marines on board Italian oil tanker and the hit-and-run case involving a Singapore flagged ship, they sought to know "why the government is silent even after 300 fishermen had been killed by the Lankan Naval men (over the recent years)?"

They also demanded that the government take steps to recover the fish catch seized by Sri Lankan navalmen and also file a case for attacking "innocent" fishermen.

(Agencies)