Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again, expressing concern over the repeated arrest of fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy, The Hindu newspaper reported
This is the third time in a week that fishermen had been apprehended. Seven fishermen in a motorised boat set sail for fishing from Therespuram fishing base of Tuticorin District on September 26. They were apprehended in the Gulf of Mannar area by the island navy on September 29 and taken to Negombo in Sri Lanka.
Urging him to secure the release of these fishermen and their craft along with the 21 others and their 30 boats who are already in Sri Lankan custody, Ms. Jayalalithaa requested Mr. Modi to use all diplomatic channels to ensure that “our fishermen are allowed to pursue their livelihood with freedom and peace of mind in their traditional waters.”
“In spite of the several steps being taken by my Government with an accommodative frame of mind to devise a permanent solution to this sensitive livelihood issue, the situation at sea remains precarious with the dubious actions of the Sri Lankan Government. I have been requesting the Government of India to wage a strong diplomatic offensive to uphold the rights and interests of our Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu. The Sri Lankan Government continues its series of arrests of our fishermen while fishing in their traditional waters,” she said.
The Sri Lankan strategy of not releasing the fishing boats, the sole source of livelihood of the poor fishermen, was further aggravating the situation. At present, 30 fishing boats were in Sri Lankan custody and were facing the risk of damage beyond repair with the impending advent of the monsoon, Ms. Jayalalithaa said.
The Chief Minister reiterated that India should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements had been challenged in the Supreme Court.