COLOMBO: B.Deniswaran, Minister of Fisheries in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, believes that the row over fishing in the sea between India and Lanka can end only when the fishermen of the two countries sit across a table and discuss the issue “with an open mind and in a spirit of give and take.”
Reacting to the demonstration of Tamil Nadu fishermen in front of the Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai on Monday, Deniswaran said that while agitating on the issue is an inalienable right, a solution to the burning question can be found only through talks between the fishermen of the two countries.
“And for the talks to be fruitful, the two sides must come with an open mind and both must be prepared for a settlement based on give and take. There can be no forward movement if both sides are adamant,” Deniswaran told Express.
He urged his own compatriots to be restrained because, as Lankan Tamils, they should realize that whenever they had suffered oppression in Lanka, India in general, and Tamil Nadu in particular, had supported them by raising their voice against the injustice.
Don’t Blame Govts
Deniswaran did not agree with the proposition that the governments of Sri Lanka and India should find a solution.
“How can the two governments find a workable solution if the fishermen of the two sides are so sharply divided?” he asked. “ It is also wrong to say that politics is behind the policy of the two governments,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Indo-Lanka Fishermen’s Welfare Forum, has sought an appointment with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We are hoping to get it at the end of March,” said the Forum’s Lankan Advisor, S.P.Anthonymuthu.
“It is important to hold the fourth round of talks soon, because the fishermen of the two sides are getting very belligerent. While in Chennai, the agitators have warned that no politician will be allowed to do election campaigning in fishing villages, in Sri Lanka, the Northern fishermen have threatened to repel the Indian poachers by force if the Lankan navy fails to do its job,” Anthonymuthu said.