Calling upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene personally for ensuring the release of 121 Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lankan custody, including 29 who were apprehended on Thursday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said the hostile actions of the neighbouring country’s Navy had intensified after the fishermen-level talks here.
Describing the actions as extremely disheartening, Ms.Jayalalithaa, in a letter to Dr.Singh on Friday, said the talks between the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, with the support of their governments, represented a positive step forward to resolve the livelihood issues through mutual agreement. Details of the letter were released to the media on Saturday.
“Every fishing voyage of our fishermen is now laden with danger and the anxiety of possible attack, harassment, apprehension and custodial detention by the Sri Lankan authorities,” she said, pointing out the 29 fishermen apprehended in Palk Bay on Thursday had set sail to fish from Rameswaram, Mandapam (North) and Jagathapattinam bases.
“The Sri Lankan Navy is now acting with greater impunity and effectively thwarting Indian fishermen coming from the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu from peacefully pursuing their livelihood in their traditional fishing waters in the Palk Bay,” she added.
Ms.Jayalalithaa blamed the Centre for “treating the livelihood issue of lakhs of fishermen of Tamil Nadu with inexplicable insensitivity. Strong diplomatic action is not being taken by the Government of India to curb such repeated instances of attack, apprehension and unlawful detention of our fishermen.”
The matter should be taken up at the highest diplomatic level for the immediate release of the 121 fishermen and their 26 fishing boats, she said in the letter to Dr.Singh.