Reiterating his request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the auction of boats of Indian fishermen, proposed by the Sri Lankan Government, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Monday contended that it was bound to derail the efforts of the Indian High Commission and the Tamil Nadu Government aimed at finding a solution to the issue.
In a letter to Mr. Modi, a copy of which was circulated to the media, Mr. Stalin said, “It is pertinent to note that these unsalvageable fishing boats were released by various Sri Lankan Courts following due judicial procedure.” The Sri Lankan Government has initiated action for auctioning 105 fishing boats belonging to the Tamil Nadu fishermen, now in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities and are slated to be auctioned between February 7 and 11. “This is not legal and also a matter of grave concern, and therefore must be stopped.”
Recalling his letter on January 24 to the PM and the Union Minister for External Affairs in this regard, Mr. Stalin said the Government of India, in its communication dated January 28, informed that the matter had been taken up with the Sri Lankan authorities and assured that the Sri Lankan side would not proceed with the announced auction .
The Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka has also concurred with the proposed visit of officials to Sri Lanka and requested to finalise a new set of dates for the visit to seek concurrence of the Sri Lankan side and facilitate necessary approval, since the dates proposed by the Tamil Nadu Government have lapsed. The revised date for the visit has since been proposed as March 1 to March 6. “Under these circumstances, the action of Sri Lankan Government, going back on its words and proceeding with the auction without consultation, is bound to derail the efforts of the Indian High Commission and the Government of Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Stalin said.
Hence, the Chief Minister reiterated his request to Mr. Modi, calling gor his personal intervention to stop the auction. All the 125 unsalvageable boats, apprehended before 2018, are berthed at various naval bases in Sri Lanka. He also urged for the release of 75 boats and fishing gears, apprehended after 2018.