Fishing is the livelihood of around 22 thousand people in Borguna region. Among them, 16 thousand are registered fishermen. While they go for fishing in the sea risking their lives, many of them cannot return ashore. Leaders of the fishermen community at a meeting with the local Coast Guard and police on Sunday expressed their insecurity.

There were 35-40 robber gangs in Sundarbans region three years back. Almost all of them surrendered during raids of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). The government also provided them monetary incentives to go back to normal life. In the past, the robbers would not usually hold the fishermen hostage. Now they are demanding ransom like pirates of South Sudan.

In the meeting, a leader of the fisherman community said, “Our fishermen could not venture into the deep sea due to insecurity while the Indian fishermen enter our maritime border for fishing.” The law enforcers, however, could not give any assurance to the fishermen. A police official said high-ups would be informed of the situation. A Coast Guard official, on the other hand, said they do not have any vessels equipped to conduct raids in the deep sea. How could Coast Guard ensure the safety of fishermen if they do not have a deep sea-worthy vessel?

Bangladesh is suffering both ways as our fishermen could not go to the deep sea for fishing due to fear of robbers while the fishermen from other countries are fishing inside our maritime boundary. This cannot go on. We think the Coast Guard patrol has to be increased to keep the robbers at bay. Compensation has to be given to the family of the killed fisherman although no reparation can be made for a lost life. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure the security of our fishermen who meet lion’s share of our protein demand.

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