Sends yet another missive to Manmohan on fishermen issue

A day after accusing the Centre of not taking concerted measures to secure release of Tamil Nadu fishermen lodged in Sri Lankan jails, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday said the least the Union government could do was to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner.

“India should convey its strong protest and deep sense of disapproval over unprovoked assaults upon and arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said in a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the second one on the issue in as many days.

A press release giving details of the letter said the Chief Minister sought immediate attention to three major incidents involving attack, apprehension and illegal detention of fishermen on the high seas by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tuesday and Wednesday.

She said five fishermen had been admitted to the Government District Headquarters Hospital, Nagapattinam, as a result of a brutal attack by Sri Lankan fishermen on July 30. Further, 20 fishermen belonging to Nagapattinam district were “abducted and illegally detained by the Sri Lankan Navy near Point Pedro on July 30. The next day, 16 fishermen in two boats belonging to the same district were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy near Mullaitheevu.

The Chief Minister said it was clear that the island Navy was acting with impunity because of the total lack of response from the Centre. “It is disappointing that the Government of India has failed to take any concerted steps to convey to the Government of Sri Lanka, through the highest diplomatic channels, our strong protest and sense of outrage.” Unless the Centre took positive and concrete steps to secure release of these fishermen, the deep sense of frustration among the fishermen community in the State was bound to escalate, she said, urging Dr. Singh to intervene.

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