Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, voicing concern over the yet another arrest of fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy on March 5, has expressed doubts whether the Navy was acting in a deliberate and calculated manner to vitiate the environment ahead of the fishermen-level talks in Colombo on March 13.
‘Repeated incidents occurring with such rapid succession, particularly, when I had written calling for an early release of the fishermen before the Colombo talks lead me to wonder whether the Lankan Navy is making a sinister attempt to nullify the positive and proactive steps taken to work out a pragmatic solution for the day-to-day fishing activities of our fishermen”, the Chief Minister said in her letter, dated March 7, to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Urging the Prime Minister to take up the matter through the highest diplomatic-level for the immediate release of the 177 Tamil Nadu fishermen and their 44 boats, including the 24 fishermen and 5 boats taken into custody on March 5, the Chief Minister said
“All our fishermen and their boats should be released prior to the Colombo talks.”
Jayalalithaa further said the ineffective and weak response from the government of India to these continuous incidents of apprehension and attack on fishermen in their traditional fishing waters of the Palk Bay, had only further emboldened the Sri Lankan Navy to act in a brazen manner.
She recalled that 148 fishermen who were apprehended and remanded in Lankan jails for more than a month as well as the five fishermen who have been languishing in a Lankan jail for more than two years on a fabricated case are yet to be released along with their 39 fishing boats.