CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday wrote yet another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to take steps to find a lasting solution to the fishermen issue.
The letter came close on the heels of the arrest of 22 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy on Wednesday. In her letter, Jayalalithaa maintained the cordial tone that she had adopted in her previous letter to Modi, and praised the prompt response of his administration over the issue in the recent times.
“On the two previous occasions when I had brought such instances to your kind notice, your immediate response in ensuring the release and repatriation of all the fishermen from Tamil Nadu who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy was widely appreciated by all sections of Society in Tamil Nadu,” read Jayalalithaa’s letter to Modi.
“Unfortunately, while the fishermen have been released, their boats and fishing gear, which are essential for them to earn their livelihood, have not yet been released,” she added.
Jayalalithaa also called for action to have the boats and fishing gear returned to the fishermen, as they would sustain damage under inactivity.
The Chief Minister also told Modi that the continuing arrests of fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy despite the goodwill gesture of releasing Sri Lankan fishermen from Indian jails was adding to already high levels of frustration among the people of Tamil Nadu. She also mentioned that while 22 fishermen had been arrested on Wednesday, five others had to be rescued from the sea after their boat sunk due to damages caused by the Lankan Navy.
Jayalalithaa also suggested that the retrieval of Katchatheevu Island from Sri Lanka would be key to solving the problem, and asked Modi to take steps to ensure the immediate release of 46 Indian fishermen presently in Lankan jails, and a total of 34 boats that are still in Lankan custody.