Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has again exhorted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to use decisively “all available diplomatic channels” of the Union government to secure the immediate release of 153 fishermen, including 32 fishermen who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on Monday and 39 fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody at the earliest.

In a letter written on Tuesday, the Chief Minister stated that when the second round of fishermen talks were slated to be held in Colombo on March 13 subject to the condition that all fishermen from the State and their boats must be released prior to the meeting, the apprehension of 32 fishermen along with their eight boats had come as a “rude shock” to the fishermen community in the State.

“This harsh action of the Sri Lankan Navy against our innocent fishermen must be seen as a deliberate attempt to vitiate the atmosphere before talks in Colombo slated for March 13, 2014. The Government of India is perceived as being a passive and mute spectator and not willing to understand and empathise with the sufferings of its own fishermen and their families.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa stated that in the latest incident, 30 fishermen belonging to Pudukottai district and two from Karaikal of Puducherry, who set out for fishing from Jegathapattinam fishing base on Monday, were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy while they were engaged in fishing in their traditional fishing waters of the Palk Bay.

She said she was at a loss of words to convey her “deep anguish and pain” over the continued and repeated instances of apprehension and incarceration of a large number of fishermen from the State and their fishing boats by the Sri Lankan Navy and the untold hardship caused to the fishermen and their families.