Expresses anguish over continuing arrest by Lankan navy

Expressing anguish over the continuing arrest of fishermen from Tamil Nadu in the last one week by the Sri Lankan Navy, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has once again sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for their early release without prolonged detention.

An official release said that in the last one week, 87 fishermen along with 19 fishing boats were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy that included arrest of 30 fishermen along with eight fishing boats from Ramanathapuram and Nagapattinam districts in the early hours of Tuesday while fishing in Palk Bay.

They have been remanded till February 13.

While recalling that her government facilitated talks between fishermen of both countries recently to find a pragmatic and workable solution, she said: “These incidents of apprehension happening after the fishermen-level talks is further fuelling the tension among the fishermen communities at alarming levels.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa said that there had to be an immediate, firm, diplomatic initiative including intervention at the highest level.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi must be summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and the Centre had to lodge its strong protest.

“Failure to take immediate action will not only derail the initiatives taken to put in place a conducive working arrangement through the fishermen-level talks, but would also be disastrous for the livelihood of the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu,” she added.

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