Expressing serious concern over the arrest of 38 fishermen and their six boats by the Sri Lankan Navy on January 29 in the Palk Bay, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has charged that the environment of goodwill created by the January 27 fishermen-level talks had been vitiated by this of act of Lankan Navy.
“It appears to me that this incident of apprehension is an attempt by elements in the Lankan Navy to deliberately spoil the conducive atmosphere created by the recent talks,” the Chief Minister said in her letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 30. Jayalalithaa observed that in a spirit of accommodation, she had facilitated direct talks between the fishermen communities of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka in Chennai and based on the overall environment of goodwill created by the talks, 295 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their 45 boats were released by Lanka in the last two weeks.
Pointing out that such arrests would impact the livelihood of the Tamil Nadu fishermen living in the Palk Bay districts, she requested the Prime Minister to decisively impress upon the Lankan government to advise its Navy to abstain from such acts of illegal abduction of fishermen. She said a decisive act would help preserve the conducive atmosphere and enable a workable solution for the fishermen to continue fishing. She sought the personal intervention of the PM to secure the release of the fishermen and their six boats.
Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard has apprehended nine Lankan fishermen and seized two boats, off the Chennai coast.