Hundreds of disgruntled fishermen and their family members blocked the national highway for over five hours on Dec 9 demand-ing the government agencies take additional steps to find the fishermen who are still missing in the sea.
The protest under the banner of Kerala Regional Latin Catholic Council started at 10am and lasted until 3.30 pm. The agitation was called off after the state government assured them that more fishermen would be taken aboard the vessels going for search and rescue operations from December 9 onwards.
Fishermen in Paruthiyoor and Pozhiyoor coastal villages had been alleging apathy on the part of authorities in carrying out search and rescue operations to trace fishermen from the area.
Fr Eugine Pereira, vicar general of Trivandrum Latin archdiocese, said a few local fishermen who were not satisfied with the search and rescue activities of the government ventured into the sea on Dec 7. They went up to 172 nautical miles off the coast and spotted wreckages of several country boats and a couple of bodies. “After returning to the sea, they had been demanding more search and rescue operations, but there was no response from the part of the government. That is why they were forced to block the highway,” the vicar general said. So far 56 persons are found to be dead.