Former Union Minister G K Vasan, who quit the Congress, on Saturday faced the ire of fishermen, who are on an indefinite stir, when he visited them to express his solidarity with them on their demands, including release of five fishermen sentenced to death by a Lankan court.
Some women posed questions to Mr. Vasan, asking him why he was coming now to meet them after quitting the Congress and what was he doing for them when he was Shipping Minister and advised him not to come and seek their vote.
They said the previous UPA Government could have found a solution to enable fishermen fish in the Palk Strait and traditional areas without any problem as they were in power for a long time. Mr. Vasan, who was accompanied by former MLA Asan Ali, however, managed to pacify them before leaving.
Mr. Vasan said a permanent solution should be found to enable them to fish in the traditional areas peacefully.
He alleged that the Lankan government was violating the Katchatheevu agreement, and the fishermen were finding it difficult even to fish in the traditional waters and dry their nets in the islet. He wanted the government to get back Katchatheevu if attacks on fishermen continued.
He also wanted all political parties to remain united to get the release of the fishermen now languishing in the Lankan prisons and bring them here.
Mr. Vasan also gave Rs 20000 each to family members of the five fishermen sentenced to death.
A Sri Lankan court had awarded death sentence to the five fishermen, arrested in 2011, last week for drug trafficking even as India held that they were innocent and that it would pursue legal options against the backdrop of demands for their release from the state. Local fishermen are on indefinite stir demanding their release.
Earlier, Mr. Vasan was welcomed by his supporters on arrival at the airport in Madurai.
Speaking to reporters, he said he knew about the political situation in Tamil Nadu and the competition prevailing and asserted he would build a party, compete and come to the top.