CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has sought the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in securing the release of 15 fishermen from Tamil Nadu who have been arrested by Lankan Navy and the 69 boats of fishermen which had been in Lanka for a long time.
The Chief Minister, in her letter to the Prime Minister on January 31, said based on her repeated requests and the Government of India’s efforts all the Indian fishermen who were apprehended by the Lankan Navy during 2015 had been released, but their boats and fishing gear, which are essential to earn their livelihood, had not yet been released, aggravating the sense of frustration and despondency amongst the fisherfolk of Tamil Nadu.
She said five fishermen from Jegathapattinam and four more fishermen in a boat from Kottaipattinam, both in Pudukottai district, had been arrested along with their boats by the Lankan Navy on the evening of January 30 and taken to Kankesanthurai.
“I urge your personal intervention to prevent the aggravation that the Lankan authorities and Navy are causing to our fishermen. I specifically request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Lankan authorities urgently and secure the immediate release of the 15 fishermen and 69 fishing boats in Lankan custody”, the Chief Minister said.
Reiterating her request for restoring the fishing boats and gear in a refurbished condition by the government of India at the earliest, Jayalalithaa said her government strongly believed that the unconstitutional Indo- Lankan Agreements of 1974 and 1976 should be nullified and the traditional rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen restored at the earliest.
She also renewed her request to the Prime Minister to grant a financial assistance Rs.1520 crores as a comprehensive financial package from the Centre for deep sea fishing and infrastructure.