CHENNAI:Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday yet again requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps for the release of Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan navy and intervene at the highest political level to bring about a lasting solution to the long-pending vexatious issue involving the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
“This livelihood issue of thousands of our fisherfolk needs your personal intervention. I hope that you would take concerted steps to ensure the release of all the Tamil Nadu fishermen and their boats now in Sri Lankan custody, in the next few days,” she said in her letter to the Prime Minister.
Recalling her earlier letters on the pathetic plight of 86 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, she said,
“In response to my request, the Ministry of External Affairs informed the Government of Tamil Nadu on October 24 that the island government had expressed its readiness for the simultaneous release of fishermen in custody on both sides. Even as the fishermen of Tamil Nadu are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their brethren, in yet another incident, six more fishermen from Tamil Nadu who set out for fishing from the Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district, were apprehended along with their mechanised fishing boat by the Sri Lankan Navy in the late hours of October 31 and taken to Talaimannar,” the Chief Minister said.
“I have repeatedly and emphatically brought to your notice Tamil Nadu’s consistent stance about the unconstitutionality of the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreements of 1974 and 1976 and the ceding of the Katchatheevu islet, which is the root cause of the problem.
Our fishermen are being denied the right to peaceful fishing in the traditional waters of the Palk Bay to which they have a historical claim. I have already brought to your notice the damage that fishing boats and fishing gear suffer due to prolonged disuse while they are impounded, which has a severe adverse impact on the livelihood of fishermen of Tamil Nadu, she said.