: Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take pro-active steps to stop the “unabated brutal attacks” on innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and their frequent arrest.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa drew his attention to two incidents involving three fishing boats on Tuesday and in early hours of Wednesday in the Palk Bay. In the first incident, eight fishermen of Pudukottai district, who had ventured into the sea on March 19, were beaten up by Sri Lankan Navy personnel with iron pipes, she said.

In the second incident, which occurred early on Wednesday, a Fibre Reinforced Plastic boat of Nambiar Nagar in Nagapattinam was attacked by naval personnel with swords, in which four fishermen suffered serious cut injuries on their hands and arms. The injured fishermen were hospitalised, she said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said that despite repeated protests by the State, it was disappointing that no strong deterrent diplomatic initiatives were taken by the Centre. “This has resulted in even more outrageous, unprovoked and lethal attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tamil fishermen,” she said.

Terming the latest attack an act of “medieval in its barbarism,” the Chief Minister said it involved the use of swords and iron rods by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel.

“India cannot maintain a pusillanimous equanimity in the face of such repeated brazen and uncivilised assaults on innocent fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu, who are also citizens of India,” she said.

She said that in the last one month, this was the fourth serious incident of attack or unwarranted apprehension by the Sri Lankan Navy, which was really worrisome. Already 19 fishermen from Rameswaram were still in Sri Lankan judicial custody for the past one week, despite this issue being brought to the notice of the Prime Minister by her on March 14, she added.