CHENNAI: Expressing serious concern over the continuing arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan Navy, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa recently expressed confidence that there will soon be a decisive shift in the stance of the Government of India towards handling the issue of continued arrest of fishermen.
“The Centre should now find a lasting and permanent solution to this long pending and highly emotive issue which also carries grave security implications for our State,” she said, bringing to notice the arrest of 28 more fishermen and the confiscation of their four fishing boats on March 12 and 13. Thus, the total number of fishermen so far arrested has gone up to 96 and 82 fishing boats have been seized. The CM said concrete action should be taken to release these fishermen and boats.
Urging the Prime Minister to put in place a strong and robust diplomatic response registering India’s disapproval in the strongest possible terms to the belligerent actions of the Lankan Navy, the Chief Minister said, “Inadequate response of the Union Government on apprehension and detention of our fishermen has emboldened the Lankan Navy to harass Tamil Nadu fishermen.”
Ever since she took over office, Jayalalithaa has written over 200 letters to the Centre drawing its attention to the ‘highhandedness’ of the Lankan navy and urging for diplomatic steps to secure the release of fishermen.
The state government has facilitated dialogue between the fishermen of both Sri Lanka and Tami Nadu. So far two meetings have been held, one in Colombo and the other in Chennai.