Accusing the BJP government of failing to protect the interests of Tamil Nadu fishermen, the former Union Minister, G.K. Vasan, has called upon leaders of all political parties in the State to launch a joint struggle to secure the release of the five fishermen, awarded death sentence by the Colombo High Court on the charges of drug-trafficking.
Addressing the fishermen after calling on the family members of the five fishermen at Thangachimadam on Saturday, Mr. Vasan, on his maiden tour after breaking away from the Congress, accused the Centre of failing to take any concrete step to secure the release of the fishermen.
The problems of Tamil Nadu fishermen had increased after the BJP came to power. “The situation is very bad because of the lackadaisical attitude of the Centre,” he said. At least now, the Centre should respond to the sentiments of the fishermen by taking immediate steps to secure the release of the fishermen, he said.
Saying that he was not trying to politicise the issue, Mr. Vasan appealed to the parties in the State to sink their differences and come under one umbrella to put pressure on the Centre.
It was unfortunate that the previous Congress-led UPA government and the present BJP government could not find a lasting solution to the issue. During his tenure as Union Minister, he stood up for the fishermen and Sri Lankan Tamils, Mr. Vasan said. Suggesting that the retrieval of Katchatheevu alone would yield a lasting solution to the fishermen issue, he said the situation was totally different when India ceded the islet to Sri Lanka.
Mr. Vasan gave away Rs. 20,000 each to the families of the five fishermen and pledged support to the struggle to secure their release.