CHENNAI: Bringing to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi yet another arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday pointed out that the permanent solution to the oft-repeated attacks and abduction of the fishermen lies in the retrieval of the island of Katchatheevu, which was unconstitutionally ceded to the island nation in the 1970s.
Exuding confidence that the Centre and Tamil Nadu government, working in tandem, could find a lasting solution to the long-standing issue of the safety, security and livelihood of our fishermen in the Palk Bay, the Chief Minister, in her letter to the Prime Minister, reiterated that this vexatious issue required a concerted and sustained diplomatic effort to ensure that a permanent solution is delivered.
“Until such time, the government of India must impress upon the Sri Lankan government to abstain from attacks on and abduction of our innocent fishermen on the high seas in the Palk Bay. Further, the joint mechanisms which are designed to ensure the speedy release of apprehended fishermen should be effectively activated,” the CM added.
“India has a strong legal and historical claim over Katchatheevu... the unconstitutional Indo-Sri Lankan Agreements of 1974 and 1976 should be nullified and the traditional rights of our fishermen to fish in the Palk Bay restored,” said the Chief Minister.
Jayalalithaa further said the Centre should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements had been challenged on extremely valid and legal grounds by her and the Tamil Nadu government before Supreme Court.