The State government on Friday requested the Centre to inform the Sri Lankan government that the fishermen-level talks, originally slated for Thursday (March 13), could be held in Colombo.
This was stated in a letter sent by S. Vijayakumar, State Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Secretary, to Suchitra Durai, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, responding to the latter’s communication on Thursday.
The letter said the talks could not be held on the originally-fixed date as 61 fishermen from the State and their 18 boats were still in Sri Lankan custody. But, now, along with their boats, the apprehended fishermen had been released by the Sri Lankan courts. The Tamil Nadu government had also released 39 Sri Lankan fishermen and their 18 boats.
Dr. Vijayakumar recalled the State government’s position that all the Tamil Nadu fishermen, numbering 177, would have to be released prior to the talks. As on the afternoon of March 12, “due to the persistent efforts taken on the directions” of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, 116 fishermen and their 26 boats were released by the Sri Lankan courts, the official mentioned in his letter.