Jaya Writes to Modi, Seeking Break from 'Meek and Weak' Ways of UPA Over Fishermen Issue
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his immediate intervention to secure the release of 33 Indian fishermen who were arrested by Sri Lankan authorities on Sunday. Jayalalithaa noted in her letter that the arrests had come on the very first day of fishing after the 45-day fishing ban period, and expressed hope that the new government would be decisive over the issue, unlike the ‘meek and weak’ response of the UPA.
“I write this letter with a deep sense of anguish that, right at the beginning of the fishing season on June 1st, after a 45 day fishing ban, 33 innocent Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, along with their 7 fishing boats, have been apprehended and detained by the Sri Lankan Navy,” read Jayalalithaa’s letter. She added that there had been 76 incidents of arrests and 67 attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy in the past three years, and that the letters she had written to the previous Prime Minister had been to no avail.
“This resumption of abductions and detentions has sent shock waves throughout the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu. There was an expectation that, with the change of Government at the Centre, there would be a reset in the relations with Sri Lanka and such attacks and apprehensions would cease,” said Jayalalithaa. She blamed the ceding of Katchatheevu as the root of the problem, and recalled that the Tamil nadu government had helped facilitate two rounds of fishermen-level talks to sort it out.
Saying the ‘meek and weak response of the erstwhile UPA government’ had emboldened the Sri Lankan Navy to act brutally against the fishermen of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa expressed hope for a decisive shift in stance on the part of the Centre in solving the issue and finding a permanent solution through ‘appropriate and calibrated set of actions’.
“This would be in sharp contrast to the passive and immobile policy paralysis that characterized the approach of the UPA Government for several years. There is high expectation in Tamil Nadu that the new NDA led Government at the Centre would act decisively on this very sensitive issue,” read her letter.
“I urge your personal intervention in the matter and request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities in a concrete and decisive manner so as to secure the immediate release of 33 fishermen who were apprehended on 1st June, 2014, and their 7 fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody at the earliest. We hope that the firmness of India’s response would ensure that such instances do not recur hereafter,” she added.