Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday expressed serious concern over the arrest of eight fishermen from Rameswaram by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 15 and the Central government’s failure to secure the release 49 fishermen already under custody in Lanka.
She charged that the recent developments over the months have caused great unrest among the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, who feel alienated by the Central government’s inaction and callous apathy in failing to protect its own fishing community from peacefully pursuing their livelihood on the high seas.
“The numerous incidents of arrest and attacks upon Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy need a strong and coordinated diplomatic response by the Government of India at the highest level,” the Tamil Nadu Chief Minster said in her letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
However, the Union Ministry of External Affairs continues to maintain a stoic and apathetic silence on the issue and there appears to be no effort to engage the Sri Lankan government in any dialogue to resolve the issue of the arrests of the fishermen by the island-nation’s navy, the chief Minster accused in her letter.
Recalling that previously she has been writing to the Prime Minster often about the continuing instances of unprovoked assault upon the fisher community and the abduction and illegal detention of innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Lankan Navy, Jayalalithaa also that said despite her strong letter of protest on June 6 this year to the Prime Minister and another request sent to him to secure the release of the fishermen from Lankan Navy, there was no strong reaction from the Government of India.
The Chief Minister also exhorted the Prime Minister to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan government and arrange for the immediate release of all the 57 fishermen of Rameswaram now in Sri Lanka’s custody, along with their boats and also secure the release of five innocent fishermen who have been languishing in Sri Lankan jails since November 29, 2011.