Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue of harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa urgently and ensure that no such brutal incident occurs in the mid-sea again.
In a letter to Dr. Singh, the Chief Minister drew his attention to the harassment of Rameswaram fishermen by Sri Lankan fishermen on March 14. Incidents of harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen continued unabated despite assurances by the Sri Lankan government. They proved that the Sri Lankan government had not taken serious measures to curb them. “These recurring attacks confirm my earlier statement that the Sri Lankan Government is adopting double standards with regard to fishermen's issues.”
She was also deeply pained to point out that the issue of attacks on the State's fishermen was not being treated as a national issue. No serious action was being initiated whenever such incidents occurred. At the recent fourth joint working group meeting at Colombo in January this year, it was reiterated that the highest priority was being accorded to the well being, safety and security of fishermen by both the countries and it was agreed that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstances.
“The assurances given remain only on paper and are not being honoured by the Sri Lankan government. The recent incident of attack proves that all the discussions aimed at ensuring the safety of our fishermen while fishing is an exercise in futility.”
She reiterated that the consistent policy of her government was to restore the fishing rights of Indian fishermen in their traditional fishing areas in the Palk Bay.