Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take immediate steps to initiate “coercive diplomacy” against “unfriendly” Sri Lanka that continues to attack Indian fishermen, the IANS news service reported.
In a letter to Manmohan Singh Tuesday, the text of which was released to media here, Jayalalithaa, citing the arrest of 20 Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka Aug 3, said: “These continuous attacks and abductions are acts of an unfriendly nation and should be countered effectively by coercive diplomacy.”
“A strong message should be delivered through diplomatic channels that India will not tolerate these attacks. Our diplomats in Colombo should take up the matter with the government of Sri Lanka and take concrete steps to secure the immediate release of all the 90 fishermen who are now in Sri Lankan jails.”
Jayalalithaa said 70 innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu languish in Sri Lankan jails.
She urged Manmohan Singh to take immediate steps to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with the Sri Lankan government to immediately stop the recurrence of such incidents of arrest and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk bay, which is their traditional fishing ground.
Jayalalithaa emphasised that the arrests and detention of fishermen for long periods of time by the Sri Lankan government have created tension and agitation among the fishing community in Tamil Nadu.
“The fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, which faces continuous harassment not only by the Sri Lankan Navy but also attacks by Sri Lankan miscreants in the guise of fishermen, now nurses a strong grievance against the government of India that it has forsaken them in a time of crisis and is apathetic to their interests,” she said.