They are trying to spoil the conducive atmosphere, she writes to the Prime Minister

Calling upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to use the diplomatic channels of the Union government “in a concrete and decisive manner” to secure the release of the recently arrested 38 fishermen, along with their six boats, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has requested him to impress decisively upon the Sri Lankan government to advise its Navy to abstain from “acts of illegal abduction of innocent Indian fishermen.”

In her letter to Dr. Singh on Thursday, the Chief Minister alleged that the latest arrest was “an attempt by elements in the Sri Lankan Navy to deliberately spoil the conducive atmosphere created by the talks” between the fishermen communities of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka in Chennai on Monday. The arrest took place around midnight on Wednesday when the fishermen were “engaged in fishing in their traditional fishing waters in Palk Bay,” she said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa also urged the Prime Minister to convey an “unequivocal and strong disapproval of the belligerent actions” of the Sri Lankan Navy and urge the Sri Lankan government to direct its Navy not to resort to further illegal arrest and detention of “our innocent fishermen.”

The intervention of the Prime Minister was sought to preserve the conducive atmosphere and enable a pragmatic and workable solution to emerge for the day-to-day fishing activities of the fishermen to continue. She recalled that “in a spirit of accommodation,” she had facilitated the holding of direct talks between the fishermen communities of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Based on the overall environment of goodwill created by the talks, 295 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their 45 boats were released by Sri Lanka in the last two weeks. However, the environment of goodwill had been “totally vitiated” by the arrest, she added.

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