The Centre should take firm steps in such a manner that it will ensure that the Sri Lankan Navy does not capture Indian fishermen, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said on Friday.

Speaking at the concluding day of the two-day conference of District Collectors here, he said this was not the first time that the Sri Lankan Navy had indulged in atrocities after committing acts of transgression.

On Wednesday, 21 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. The fishermen who came back to Rameswaram said that they were fishing near Kachchatheevu in a group of over 400 boats when the Sri Lankan Navy personnel came there in smaller boats and indulged in atrocities.

There had been many such instances and Indian fishermen were at the receiving end. After each such incident, the Centre, acting on a request from the State, had intervened to ensure the release of the fishermen and condemned the Sri Lankan Navy’s act. At the instance of the State government, it had held extensive multi-level dialogues with Sri Lankan authorities.

But, the Sri Lankan government did not keep any of the assurances it had given. It was time that the Centre initiated steps to end such atrocities, Mr. Karunanidhi said.

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