CHENNAI: Bringing to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the third incident of arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Lankan Navy within a week’s time, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday urged the PM to “mount a strong diplomatic initiative to uphold the rights and interests of our Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu.”
“In spite of my repeated appeals to ensure the safety and security of our innocent fishermen and to devise a permanent solution to this sensitive livelihood issue, the situation at sea remains precarious with the continued offensive acts of the Sri Lankan Navy”, the Chief Minister pointed out in her letter dated June 6, to the Prime Minister.
Pointing out that the unconstitutional ceding of Katchatheevu by the agreements of 1974 and 1976 was central to this problem, the Chief Minister said the Lankan strategy of not releasing the fishing boats, the main source of livelihood of the poor fishermen, was further aggravating the situation. “At present, there are 90 fishing boats impounded and insecurely berthed in Sri Lanka and are undergoing severe deterioration”, she added.
Jayalalithaa requested the Prime Minister to urgently direct the Ministry of External Affairs to use diplomatic channels to ensure that Tamil Nadu fishermen were allowed to peacefully pursue their livelihood in their traditional fishing waters.
She also sought the Prime Minister’s direct intervention to secure the immediate release of the 15 fishermen and 91 fishing boats in Lankan custody, including the four fishermen and one mechanised fishing boat apprehended on June 4.