Missing fishermen’s families threaten to boycott poll

Source: TNN | Published on 14th March 2019, 12:53 PM | Coastal News |

UDUPI: The two fishermen families from Malpe, whose family members were crew members in the missing Suvarna Tribuja boat, have decided to boycott the Lok Sabha election.

While on the one hand the district administration is making all efforts to get the maximum number of voters to the booths through SVEEP activities, the family of Damodar Salian and Chandrashekhar Kotian of Payanjiguda in Badanidiyur village are in tears as they have lost their breadwinners. They believe boycotting the election will be the final step to grab the attention of elected representatives and the government towards their plight.

Gangadhar Salian, the brother of Damodar Salian, said, “We are still in shock. We are not interested in politics and don’t want to vote for anyone. We have eight voters in our house, and all of us are of the same opinion. My close friends and relatives also support us in boycotting the election.”

Similarly, Chandrashekhar Kotian's family is also outraged at the government. Chandrasekhar Kotian’s brother, Nithyananda Kotian, said, “We have seven people in our family, and all of us have decided to boycott the election. Our bother, along with seven fishermen and the Suvarna Tribuja boat went missing on December 13, 2018. Both the state government and central government have failed to trace them. The government and public representatives have forgotten about the case.”

Malpe Fishermen Association president Sathish Kunder said, “The decision of the families to boycott the election is fair, as they lost the breadwinners of the family. We have doubts about whether a Naval ship was damaged on the same day at the same location, where the Suvarna Tribuja boat is reported to have gone missing. Something similar to a boat was found at the same place, however they declared it a boulder.”

The association met defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Delhi on February 24 and also at the air show held at Bengaluru, along with the family members of the missing fishermen. She promised to visit Udupi in the first week of March and have a meeting with the police, Navy officials, Coast Guards and fishermen, and get explanation on what happened to the missing boat and crew, however the recent India-Pakistan tensions resulted in her not being able to hold the meeting. We will contact her again and organise a meeting regarding the missing fishermen soon,” he said.

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