Writes to PM about illegal detention of 21 fishermen by Sri Lankan navy

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday wrote a letter to the Prime Minister bringing to his notice, what she termed, “high-handed, blatant and illegal abduction” and detention of 21 fishermen from Ramanathapuram district by the Sri Lankan Navy. The Chief Minister said she had been repeatedly bringing to the Centre’s notice the illegal detention of Tamil Nadu fisherman by the Island nation’s navy but the Ministry of External affairs was maintaining a “stoic and apathetic silence” and not making any attempt to engage the Sri Lankan government to resolve the issue. In the latest incident, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that the 21 fishermen set sail on five boats on the night of July 6. They had been “abducted” by the Sri Lankan navy in the high seas. It is learnt that they had been remanded till July 19.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that on June 5 49 fishermen on 10 boats were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy. Of them, 24 persons were released on July 2 and the rest on July 3. Another batch of eight fishermen, who were apprehended on June 15, was still languishing in Sri Lankan jails.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said by these arrests, the Sri Lankan navy was trying to browbeat and prevent Tamil Nadu fishermen from fishing in the waters near Kacthatheevu, which the Tamil Nadu government always claimed as traditional part of the fishing waters of India. She appealed to the Prime Minister to summon the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and through him, advise the Sri Lankan government to stop the detention of Indian fishermen by their navy.

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