Act immediately against Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Bill, Vaiko tells Centre

India’s MDMK general secretary Vaiko has urged the Centre to immediately lodge its protest with the Sri Lankan government over the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Amendment) Bill, saying it would be detrimental to the traditional fishing rights of Indians.

He has also called on the Central Government to ensure that the island nation withdrew the ‘controversial’ provisions of the Bill, The Hindu newspaper reported.

Speaking to reporters, Vaiko said the proposed law, which had the approval of the Sri Lankan government’s cabinet, would give more powers to the Sri Lankan Navy personnel to arrest Indian fishermen and seize trawlers and fishing nets. Above all, the Sri Lankan officials would impose hefty fines and harsher jail terms. The law, he alleged, was being brought in to stop fishermen of the Indian region from engaging in fishing.

Apprehending such a move, Vaiko said he had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as early as in July 2017 and impressed upon him the need to convey to his Sri Lankan counterpart the consequences that fishermen may face in the future if such proposals were implemented. (Colombo Gazette)