Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take urgent steps for the release of 40 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry who were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy on Monday.
The CM said the action of the Lankan Navy in detaining fishermen from Tamil Nadu would only escalate tension between the two countries, besides causing anxiety and unrest among the fishing community.
“I am deeply pained to point out that the incidents of apprehension and harassment of innocent Indian fishermen have become a regular occurrence in the past few months creating a feeling of insecurity and fear amongst the fishermen community,” the Chief Minister said in her letter to the PM.
The CM noted that Lankan boats and fishermen, who poach in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone in the vicinity of Tamil Nadu, were usually warned and sent back. Pointing out that no apprehension of Sri Lankan fishermen has occurred in Tamil Nadu waters in the recent past, she said the Lankan authorities should reciprocate the goodwill gesture and release the fishermen immediately.
Jayalalithaa said 22 fishermen from Nagapattinam district and 18 from Karaikal who were engaged in fishing in the Bay of Bengal in five mechanised boats, were apprehended by the Lankan Navy on Monday near Pulmoddai in Sri Lanka. The boats and fishermen were taken to Trincomalee and the fishermen were remanded till December 10.