CHENNAI: A day after 17 Nagapattinam fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene to secure the release of all the 31 Tamil Nadu fishermen who have been in the custody of the Sri Lankan authorities.
“This is to bring to your notice one more unfortunate incident in which 17 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, along with their two fishing boats, have been apprehended and detained by the Sri Lankan navy. It has been reported that two mechanized fishing boats that set sail on June 19 from the Nagapattinam were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy in the late hours of June 20. The boats and the fishermen have been taken to Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka,” Jayalalithaa wrote in her letter to the Prime Minister.
She said the arrests vitiated the congenial atmosphere in which the Tamil Nadu government facilitated three rounds of bilateral level fishermen talks.
Jayalalithaa said 14 fishermen along with their three boats, apprehended on June 1, were yet to be released. Besides, 18 fishing boats had been in Sri Lankan custody for more than three months.
“The recurring instances of apprehension of our fishermen while they are engaged in fishing in their traditional fishing waters in the high seas in the Palk Bay, by the Sri Lankan navy and their prolonged detention is causing great unrest amongst the fishermen community across the state,” she said.
“The Sri Lankan strategy of not releasing the boats of the fishermen is causing great long term economic loss to the poor fishermen whose only means of livelihood is being snatched away,” she added.