Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has announced that the second round of ongoing talks between fishermen’s organisations of India and Sri Lanka is set to be held in Colombo on March 13. She has asked the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to ensure the release of 121 Tamil Nadu fishermen and their boats before the talks.
Jayalalithaa also announced that the 13 fishermen’s representatives who took part in the talks held in Chennai on January 27 would participate in the talks and Tamil Nadu government officials would take part as observers.
The Chief minister communicated the list of attendees from Tamil Nadu to the Joint Secretary for External Affairs in a letter on Sunday.
Jayalalithaa also suggested some points of agenda for the Colombo talks formulated on the basis of the January talks which were held in Chennai. Among these were the affirmation of the rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen to ply their trade in traditional waters, complete cessation of attacks, arrests and incarceration of fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, increased information exchange between the two sides of weather and environmental factors and a roadmap for increased co-operation with long term considerations in mind.
Jayalalithaa also stipulated the Tamil Nadu government’s continuation of its case for the retrieval of Katchatheevu and said the fishermen level talks should continue to be held without prejudice to this.
Jayalalithaa had earlier taken steps to hold the first round of fishermen level talks in January, writing to the Prime Minister on the matter in September 2013. She had, then insisted that the Tamil Nadu government be included in the talks as a stakeholder, and has demanded that no agreement reached in the talks be implemented with the concurrence of the Tamil Nadu government.