Seeking a permanent solution to the problems faced by Tamil Nadu fishermen, a delegation of India’s AIADMK MPs met Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday and demanded the Centre’s immediate intervention for release of Indian fishermen languishing in Lankan jails.
The 49-member delegation led by senior AIADMK leader and Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai also sought a special package of Indian Rs. 1520 crore for enhancing deep fishing facilities in Tamil Nadu, the Press Trust of India reported.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Thambi Durai said, the External Affairs Minister has assured them that the matter would be taken up with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.
“She has assured us that the issue would be discussed with the High Commissioner. Further, we were told that steps would be initiated to resolve the issues at the earliest by taking it up with Sirisena and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
About 86 fishermen hailing from Tamil Nadu are presently in Lankan jails, he added.
Raising concern over the frequent arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan navy, he said there was a pressing need for resolving the issue immediately.
On releasing fishermen boats under the custody of Lankan authorities, he said the External Affairs Ministry has informed them that negotiations were going on in this regard.
Terming an agreement between India and Sri Lanka over Katchatheevu island in 1970s as “illegal”, he said the “Indian Government’s agreement [over Katchatheev] in 1974—76 is illegal as it was not ratified by Parliament”.