In return, the State government will set free 179 Sri Lankan fishermen

In the run-up to the January 20 meeting here between fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, 275 Tamil fishermen lodged in various prisons in Sri Lanka would be released starting January 13, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced on Saturday.

Tamil Nadu will in turn release 179 Sri Lankan fishermen as requested by the Centre to facilitate the talks.

Reacting to DMK president M. Karunanidhi’s allegation that the meeting between the fishermen could not take place earlier because of her indifference, Ms. Jayalalithaa said she had asked the Fisheries Department Secretary to hold talks with officials in New Delhi. When Tamil Nadu took up the issue, the Centre wanted 179 Sri Lankan fishermen to be released, she said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said the Centre had always been indifferent to the problems of Tamil fishermen and the letters written by the Prime Minister to her were in favour of Sri Lankan fishermen.

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