Jayalalithaa writes to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again

Accusing Sri Lanka of trying to create a fear psychosis among Tamil Nadu fishermen with the idea of forcing them to keep away from the Palk Bay area, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to take a tough stand.

Citing two incidents that took place on November 4 and 5, one off the coast of Kodiakarai in Nagapattinam district and another off Rameswaram, she said in her letter to the Prime Minister: “I request you to take a strong stand against the government of Sri Lanka with regard to such attacks on our fishermen and convey our serious apprehension through tough words and action.”

“There seems to be a definite pattern of attacks by the Sri Lankan navy/miscreants to create a fear psychosis amongst the innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen, with a view to forcing them to desist from eking out their livelihood in their traditional areas of fishing in the Palk Bay area,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said. She recalled her earlier appeal that such attacks should be viewed as a national issue and not as an isolated problem of Tamil Nadu.

Highlighting the “deep feeling of unrest and concern” among the fishing community, she said such incidents had not stopped despite the State government's repeated appeals to the Centre, and the Union government's diplomatic efforts.

Dr. Singh had written to Ms. Jayalalithaa on November 3, informing her that he had conveyed his deep concern over such incidents to the Sri Lankan President during a meeting in New York in September. He had also mentioned that Sri Lanka had “promised to seriously investigate these incidents”. However, she said, all the concern voiced by the Union and State governments had only fallen on deaf ears.

She recalled that she had apprised Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on October 8 about the continuing incidents. “The irony is that even after my letter to you on October 10, there have been at least six more major incidents in which Tamil Nadu fishermen have been blatantly attacked, harassed and injured.”

The Chief Minister said that on November 4, Sri Lankan naval personnel had come near a mechanised boat off Kodiakarai, cut the ropes of the nets of the fishermen and thrown stones at the boat, inflicting severe head injuries on a fisherman. Likewise, the next day, a boat driver sustained serious injuries in an incident off Rameswaram base near Katchatheevu.


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