CHENNAI: Expressing serious concern over the alarmingly increase in frequency of arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan Navy during the past two months, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgent intervention to resolve this long-standing issue as well as the immediate release of 15 fishermen and 63 boats now under Lankan custody.
Referring to the arrest of 15 fishermen in two incidents on September 1 and 2, the Chief Minister, in her letter to the Prime Minister, observed that in the last two months, there have been 15 incidents wherein 319 fishermen from Tamil Nadu had been arrested. “Due to the efforts of your Government all the 319 fishermen have been released. Unfortunately the 63 fishing boats continue to be in Sri Lankan custody,” she added.
The Chief Minister also pointed out that without their sole means of earning their livelihood, the fishermen were in a despondent state. “Denying our fishermen the right to peaceful fishing in their traditional waters of the Palk Bay, to which they have a historical claim, is fuelling a sense of frustration amongst them,” she added.
The CM said TN had raised the non-release of boats during the meeting of the India-Lanka Joint Committee of Fisheries. Stressing the need for retrieving Katchatheevu and restoring the traditional fishing rights of fishermen in Palk Bay, she sought immediate intervention to resolve this issue.