Expressing concern over the frequent arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa said India could not continue to be seen as a mute spectator as the rights of the fisherfolk were repeatedly infringed upon, the Times of India reported.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister said the issue of harassment and frequent arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen was an abrogation of their rights in their traditional fishing areas.
“This is a livelihood issue of thousands of our fisherfolk and is taking on a huge social and political dimension,” she said.
On Monday, 24 fishermen who set sail on four boats from Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district were arrested and taken to Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka.
She said the issue required urgent intervention not merely at a diplomatic level but also at a highest political level.
“In the present circumstances, I have no doubt that you would agree that the fishermen issue needs to be placed at the top of the agenda in any interaction with Sri Lanka,” Jayalalithaa said, seeking the PM’s intervention in securing the safe release of all 78 fishermen and 38 fishing boats, currently in Sri Lankan custody.