Jayalalithaa urges Manmohan to take it up with SL

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday said the numerous incidents of arrest and attack on fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy needed a strong and coordinated diplomatic response by the Centre at the highest level.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said even as 49 fishermen, abducted on June 5, remained in Sri Lankan custody, eight more innocent and poor fishermen from Rameswaram were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 15.

They were remanded in custody by a magistrate at Mannar for 12 days up to June 27.

The incident had caused unrest among the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu. They “now feel alienated by the Union government’s apparent inaction and callous apathy in failing to protect its own fishing community from peacefully pursuing their livelihood on the high seas,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

Pointing that she had been repeatedly writing to him on the issue, the Chief Minister said it was a matter of regret that there was no strong reaction from the Centre to her June-6 letter calling for effective measures to secure the release of fishermen.

“The Ministry of External Affairs has continued to maintain a stoic and apathetic silence and there appears to be no effort to engage the Sri Lankan government in any dialogue to resolve the issue,” she said.

The Chief Minister exhorted the Prime Minister to take up the matter with Sri Lankan government and arrange for immediate release of the 57 fishermen of Rameswaram.

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