Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to use the diplomatic channels of the Union government in a “concrete” and “decisive manner” with the Sri Lankan authorities to secure the immediate release of 275 fishermen, including the recent batch of 25 fishermen who were reported to have been apprehended on Thursday last.

Expressing her deepest anguish and frustration over the repeated apprehension and incarceration of a large number of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister, in her letter written to Dr Singh on Monday, referred to the latest incident in which, she said, 25 fishermen of the Ramanathapuram district, while engaged in peaceful fishing in their traditional fishing waters in the Gulf of Mannar, were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy last week along with their five mechanised boats.

She added that already 79 Indian fishing boats were in Sri Lankan custody.

Accusing the Sri Lankan Navy of “establishing its authoritarian presence in the Palk Bay by chasing and arresting unarmed innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu who offer no provocation,” Ms. Jayalalithaa also faulted the Union government for remaining “a mute spectator” and “not willing to understand” the sufferings of its own fishermen and their families.

Seeks PM's intervention

The Chief Minister wanted the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter personally so that all the fishermen and 84 boats were released immediately.

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