CHENNAI: NDA constituent PMK today urged the Narendra Modi government to raise the fishermen's issue with the newly sworn-in Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during his February India visit and demanded that the leader immediately release boats of Indian fishermen under his country's custody.
Referring to Colombo's announcement that Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu languishing in its jails will be released as a goodwill gesture, party founder S Ramadoss said the new government had, however, not made any reference to releasing the boats confiscated by Lankan authorities while arresting the fishermen.
Since this issue came under the authority of the Lankan President, he needs no legal or political opinion and could release the boats, he said in a statement here.
"Since the new President has been just sworn-in and that he has not decided on the approaches to be adopted towards key issues like fishermen's problems, it would not be fair to criticise him right now or claim intentions for his actions.
"However, he should consider livelihood of the fishermen as 500 of them could not carry their vocation since their boats have not yet been released by Sri Lanka," he said.
Releasing the boats along with the fishermen will be the true "goodwill gesture" by Sirisena, he said, "Not only that, Centre should hold detailed discussions with him during his visit to India next month and find a permanent solution to fishermen's issue".