The National Fishworkers Forum, a federation of state-level trade unions, urged the Union Government to take proactive measures to rescue Indian fishermen held in prisons in Iran and Sri Lanka.
In a statement, M Ilango, General Secretary of the forum, said that the Central Government should send an emissary to Iran and ensure the release of 22 fishermen from Kanyakumari, who were taken in custody in October.
Referring to the Italian Government’s step of sending an emissary to Kerala to speed up the process of getting two of their marines, held in custody on charges of killing two Indian fishermen, released for Christmas and New Year, he said that innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu continued to languish in prisons. He urged the government to get them released before Pongal.
He said that the Tamil Nadu government should take the lead and organise a meeting of representatives of fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and authorities from Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the Central government along with Sri Lankan authorities to find a lasting solution.
He said that Union Minister of State for PMO, V Narayanasamy, had informed him that when Indian Foreign Secretary visited Sri Lanka, they had assured participation in discussions to find solutions.