Tamil Nadu

PM deputed me, Nirmala tells fishers

Minister of State for Commerce & Industry. Nirmala Sitharaman, along with Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Pon. Radhakrishnan interacting with protesting fishermen at Thangatchimadam near Rameswaram on Sunday.

Minister of State for Commerce & Industry. Nirmala Sitharaman, along with Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Pon. Radhakrishnan interacting with protesting fishermen at Thangatchimadam near Rameswaram on Sunday.

Union Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday told agitating fishermen that she had been deputed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak to the mother of K. Britjo (21), the fisherman who was allegedly shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy, and give her an assurance from the Centre that all necessary steps would be taken against those responsible for her son’s death.

“As the Modi government is firm on following up the case with the Sri Lankan government through diplomatic means, the fisherfolk could give up their protest,” she pleaded.

Dismissing the criticism that the Centre has remained largely silent on the issue, she pointed out that within two hours of the shooting incident, the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, acting on the advice of Prime Minister Modi, met Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and lodged India’s protest against the incident.

“The Sri Lankan Prime Minister has agreed to conduct an inquiry into the incident. The Marine police of the Coastal Security Group (CSG) here have also filed a FIR against the Sri Lankan Navy,” she said.

Action would be taken on the basis of inquiries and charge sheets, she said, adding, “We will not leave the issue without getting justice.”

She noted that India and Sri Lanka had entered into an agreement not to harm fishermen from either side when they are arrested for poaching in each other’s territorial waters, and that the firing incident clearly violated that agreement. “It has also violated the standard operating procedure, worked out during ministerial-level talks held in November last,” she said.

Earnest efforts

After securing the release of five fishermen who were awarded the death sentence by the Colombo High Court, the Modi government had been making earnest efforts to find a lasting solution that would ensure peaceful fishing in the Palk Bay. As part of these efforts, the Centre had secured the release of 1,830 fishermen between 2014 and 2017, after they were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for poaching in Lankan waters. Efforts were being taken to secure the release of 136 boats as well, the Union Minister said.

She added that she would submit a report detailing the fishermen’s demands to the Prime Minister.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 5:49:19 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/nirmala-sitharaman-holds-talks-with-protesting-fishermen/article17452758.ece