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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister hits out at Sri Lanka over arrests

The arrest of three state fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy is “disappointing” and shows “high- handedness” by the island nation, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said, according to the Press Trust of India.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said Saturday’s arrest and the recent legislation enacted by the Sri Lankan Parliament regarding impounding of boats and imposing huge fines on Indian fishermen cause a sense of “fear and unrest” among the fisherfolk.

“When the Government of India as well as Government of Tamil Nadu are making all possible efforts to bring an amicable solution to fishing issues in the Palk Bay, the Sri Lankan Government’s response is not only disappointing but also a display of high-handedness,” Palaniswami said.

The three fishermen, who went fishing on July 8, were from Jegathapattinam fishing base in Pudukottai district and were apprehended by the Lankan Navy and taken to Kangesanthurai port on Saturday.

The chief minister further said the strategy of the island nation to impound boats and gear of fishermen for longer periods resulting in irreparable damage to their equipment had already pushed them into “despondency.” “The strategy of Sri Lankan Government to put in place mechanisms aimed at disrupting normalcy at sea and destroying primary means of livelihood of our fishermen, without having any respect for Indian diplomacy, are strongly condemned,” he said.

Palaniswami sought Modi’s intervention for the release of 53 fishermen including the three arrested on Saturday, along with 144 fishing boats in the custody of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

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