CHENNAI: Political parties in Tamil Nadu on Thursday expressed serious concern over the death sentence awarded to five fishermen from Tamil Nadu and urged the Centre to take quick action for their release.
Tamilisai Soundararajan, president of the State unit of Bharatiya Janata Party, said that she had brought the issue to the attention of Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister and had urged them to take immediate steps to secure the release of the five fishermen.
The Secretary to Ministry of External Affairs had assured that expeditious steps in this regard were being considered, she added.
MDMK general secretary Vaiko said since 1934, no court in Sri Lanka had awarded death sentence to any accused. The present case showed the attitude of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, he said.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre of acting against the interests of Tamils, Vaiko said “the BJP government has gone a step ahead of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in betraying Tamils.”
Strengthening ties with Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government and hailing his activities continued in BJP government too, the MDMK leader said.
Emboldened by this stand, the Lankan court had awarded death sentence to Tamil Nadu fishermen, he added.
PMK founder S Ramadoss, said awarding death sentence to Tamil Nadu fishermen was a challenge posed by Lanka to the Indian government.
“Had Sri Lanka taken such an action against any other country, the affected country will have countered it with a serious action”, he said and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue a strong warning to Rajapaksa and ask him to release the five Tamil Nadu fishermen immediately.
Expressing concern at the development, G Ramakrishnan, State CPM secretary said the Centre should use its diplomatic channels to file appeal petitions for the affected fishermen.
Former Union Minister GK Vasan said without wasting time, the Centre should take all steps to ensure the release of the five fishermen.