With over 80 Indian fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan prisons, Tamil Nadu government has once again sought Central intervention for their release.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said, “It is very unfortunate that these innocent fishermen have continued to be incarcerated throughout the festive season which they were unable to spend with their families. I urge your personal intervention in this matter and request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities in a concrete and decisive manner for the immediate release of 84 fishermen including the 29 arrested on December 31.”
The recurrent instances of attacks and “abductions” of the fishermen in the Palk Bay “continue unabated and are a matter of serious concern affecting” their life and livelihood on a daily basis, she said.
The letter, dated December 31, was released on Saturday by the state government.
In the letter, she reiterated her government’s opposition to the 1974 and 1976 Indo-Sri Lanka agreements ceding the Katchatheevu islet to the island republic and recalled that she had filed a case against it in Supreme Court.
The Chief Minister also reminded Modi about her government’s plea for Rs. 1520 crore deep-sea fishing package made with him twice.
Jayalalithaa had earlier written to Modi voicing concern at recurring instances of such arrests. In her letter dated December 20, she had sought Modi’s intervention for the release of arrested fishermen and their boats.
In the latest incident involving the Lankan navy, 29 fishermen from Nagapattinam district and three boats were detained by the Lankan Navy when they were fishing off Trincomallee coast in Sri Lanka.