Taking exception to the continued arrests of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu government has told the Centre that Colombo’s “dubious actions” has resulted in the situation at sea remaining “precarious.”
Referring to the latest instance of arrest of fishermen who set out from Tuticorin district on September 26, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that this was the third such incident within a span of a week.
“In spite of the several steps being taken by my Government with an accommodative frame of mind to devise a permanent solution to this sensitive livelihood issue, the situation at sea remains precarious with the dubious actions of the Sri Lankan Government,” she said in a letter to Modi.
The letter dated September 30 was released by the state government today.
This was yet another incident wherein Tamil Nadu fishermen were apprehended and their right to fishing in their “traditional waters has once again been infringed upon by the Sri Lankan Navy,” she said.
“I have been requesting the Government of India to wage a strong diplomatic offensive to uphold the rights and interests of our Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu. The Sri Lankan Government continues its series of arrests of our fishermen while fishing in their traditional waters,” Jayalalithaa said.
She reiterated her earlier demand that the International Maritime Boundary Line with Sri Lanka should not be treated as settled and the Centre should revisit the 1974 and 1976 agreements with Colombo wherein New Delhi had ceded the islet Katchatheevu to its southern neighbour.
The Chief Minister also slammed the Sri Lankan ‘strategy’ of not releasing impounded boats of fishermen and said it severely impacts their livelihood.
“I request you to intervene personally in this issue and use all diplomatic channels to ensure that our fishermen are allowed to pursue their livelihood with freedom and peace of mind in their traditional waters.”
“I once again call for your immediate intervention to secure the release of these seven fishermen and their traditional craft along with the 21 fishermen and their 30 fishing boats which are already in Sri Lankan custody,” she told the Prime Minister.