The Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) in Tamil Nadu will stage State-wide agitation if the 14 Rameswaram fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan navy on a charge of poaching on June 2 were not released at the end of their judicial remand on August 13, party president G.K. Vasan has said.
Addressing the fishing community at Thangachimadam near Rameswaram, Vasan, who was on a “Towards the people” programme, said the fishermen were languishing in a jail for more than two months but neither the State nor the Centre bothered to secure their release, The Hindu newspaper reported.
The party’s agitation was to draw the attention of the State and Central governments to the plight of the fishing community and exert pressure on them to take steps to secure the release of the fishermen, he said.
Referring to reports that the Lankan authorities delayed the release of the fishermen in view of the Prime Ministerial elections in the island nation, he said that the Centre should categorically tell the island nation that it should not link the fishermen release to the elections.
Vasan who listened to the problems of fishermen by holding talks with the leaders of fishermen associations and the womenfolk before addressing the meeting, expressed anguish that political parties approached the fishermen issue with an eye on electoral gains.
“The problem should be approached in a humane way,” he said, and declared that the TMC would be in the forefront in the fight to find a lasting solution to the issue.
Mr. Vasan also appealed to the Centre to introduce Pamban Express in memory of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The late leader had appealed to the railways to introduce the express with a refrigerator coach for transporting fish from the island, while addressing the centenary celebrations of the bridge in January last, he recalled.
Later, accompanied by district president A. Ravichandra Ramavanni and former MLAs Asan Ali and Ram Prabu, the TMC leader called on Mr. Kalam’s elder brother A.P.J.M. Maraikayar at the ‘House of Kalam’ and enquired about his health. (Colombo Gazette)