Reiterating that incidents of harassment by the Sri Lankan Navy had created fear among Tamil Nadu’s fishermen, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday yet again sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention to sort out the issue.
In a letter to the PM, she informed him that 704 mechanised fishing boats had gone out to sea from Rameswaram on June 25 and the fishermen had been harassed by the Lankan Navy. “The Lankan Navy reportedly chased the fishermen (on June 26), cut their ropes and damaged the nets of 10 boats, resulting in huge loss to them,” she said.
Stressing that TN’s fishermen have been fishing near Katchatheevu from time immemorial, notwithstanding geographical or political boundaries, Jayalalithaa said the latest incident had shocked the State and scared the fishermen. Recalling that she had brought to his notice previous incidents of similar attacks, Jayalalithaa appealed to the PM to take up the issue with the Lankan government. “Impress upon them the need to instruct their navy to exercise restraint and refrain from harassing innocent Indian fishermen pursuing their livelihood in their traditional waters,” she said.
The June 26 incident comes just a week (June 19) after nine fishermen from Akkaraipettai in Nagapattinam District were apprehended by the Lankan Navy and taken to Kangesanthurai. They were later released after top TN officials took up the issue with the Indian Consulate in Colombo on the instructions of Jayalalithaa.
In the past, Jayalalithaa had stressed that attacks on TN fishermen must be treated as a national issue.