Dialogue should resume between India, Sri Lanka: National Fisherfolk Forum

The National Fisherfolk Forum (NFF) has urged the Centre to initiate the fifth round of dialogue between fisher representatives of India and Sri Lanka in the wake of recent rise in the incidents of incarceration of Indian fishermen by the neighbour’s navy.

M. Ilango, NFF chairperson, in a memorandum to the Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, sought the early resumption of bilateral consultations while urging for the Prime Minister’s intervention in this regard to devise an acceptable protection of the right to livelihood of the fishermen of both countries.

Increasing difficulty

The fishermen from Ramnad, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal of Puducherry were finding it increasingly difficult to fish in the seas between India and Sri Lanka due to the attack on fishing boats and incarceration of Tamil fishermen, which sometimes led to their languishing without proper food and clothing and being tortured, the memorandum said.

The issue has flared up again with 23 fishermen arrested and incarcerated in Sri Lankan prisons despite a sort of agreement being in place since 2017 after several rounds of consultations from the time of the UPA government.

The NFF recalled that after the fourth round of bilateral dialogue under the NDA government and instructions of the high-powered officials of the External Affairs Ministry, the Tamil fishermen avoided going to the controversial sea space for fishing.

No criminal activities

Since they were only fishing and were not involved in any criminal activities, the Indian government should immediately intervene and get them released without any court cases pending.

Further, both governments should hold an inquiry about the reason for such incidents in recent days.

The process of investigation should be held by the higher level officials of both the countries concerned, said Mr. Ilango, who also met Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala in Delhi to press the case for resumption of dialogue.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 2:48:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/dialogue-should-resume-between-india-sri-lanka-national-fisherfolk-forum/article37154472.ece

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