An expected meeting between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka on January 20 remains uncertain as the Centre is examining conditions placed byTamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for it.
Both Sri Lankan and Indian official sources said a meeting between fishermen on both sides would go a long way in finding a solution to their grievances against each other and prevent arrests. They pointed out that a broad concurrence for a meeting has come about after two years of efforts. A total of 400 fishermen from both countries are in each other’s prisons for allegedly violating the maritime boundary line between the two countries.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and senior DMK leader T R Baalu are on record to say the meeting will be held on January 20. But officials here say the date is still a “bit premature” because of the “other things that come in the letter”. Though the officials were not specific about which “other things”, Ms. Jayalalithaa had said in one of her letters that the talks should be “without prejudice to, and must not in any way, compromise the stand” taken by her in a pending writ petition on the status of Katchatheevu. She has also said any agreement in the talks would have to be cleared by her government.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G L Peiris will be arriving here on January 28.