CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to prevent the frequent arrests and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen by sending a firm and unambiguous message to Sri Lanka that these hostile acts would not be tolerated.
“Such a message needs to be delivered to those at the highest level on the Sri Lankan side as the impulse for such a cruel and ruthless strategy against Tamil Nadu fishermen appears to flow from the very top,” the Chief Minister said expressing dismay over the arrest of over 50 fishermen by Lankan Navy in three incidents since September 10 night.
Acknowledging the proactive measures taken by him in securing the release of detained fishermen in the recent past, Jayalalithaa said despite this, Lanka’s attitude had hardened and they were adopting harsher and more devious tactics to cause permanent and long-standing economic damage to poor and innocent Indian fishermen.
In this connection, she referred to an interview given to an Indian newspaper by Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in which he had said that the impounded fishing boats from Tamil Nadu would not be released.
The Chief Minister further said the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Working Groups needed to be made a useful mechanism to address such issues and the stonewalling attitude of the Sri Lankan side seen in the recent meeting of the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Committee on Fisheries held on August 29 at New Delhi has to cease.
“I am sure that, given the emphasis you are placing on resolving issues in the neighbourhood of the country, the plight of Tamil Nadu fishermen will receive the much needed priority attention that it deserves and the Indian Government will take necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our fishermen and secure the immediate release of all the detained 78 fishermen and 72 boats,” she said
Jayalalithaa also pointed out that the permanent and long-term measures cannot be placed on the back-burner and must also be actively pursued.
She also urged the Prime Minister to urgently take up implementation of the long term measures to find a permanent solution to the issue.