CHENNAI: Coming down heavily on the Centre over the offer of boats and fishing equipments to Sri Lanka, PMK founder S Ramadoss on Saturday said such assistance was a betrayal of Tamil Nadu fishermen, whose vessels are seized by the island nation.
In a statement here, he said there were reports of the Centre providing 150 boats and fishing equipments for 300 fishermen at a cost of Rs. 4.5 crore in Sri Lanka. "Without an iota of doubt, it is an act of betrayal against fishermen from Tamil Nadu," he said. "How can this assistance could be viewed as a goodwill gesture to Sri Lanka, which has been acting against the Tamil Nadu fishermen?" he asked.
Noting that 99 fishermen from the State have been arrested by Colombo in the last two months, he said 82 boats have also been seized. Moreover, there is no assurance that this goodwill gesture would benefit Tamils in Mullaitheevu of Sri Lanka, he added.
"India may consider extending the goodwill gesture only if the Lankan authorities are releasing our fishermen and their boats. Till then, the Government should not offer any such assistance to the island nation," Ramadoss said.