Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take suitable action to get all fishermen of Tamil Nadu, who are now in custody of the Sri Lankan authorities, released immediately along with the 24 fishermen who were already languishing in jails of the island nation.
Expressing her anguish over the repeated onslaughts, she said “I am deeply anguished to bring to your notice the repeated onslaughts of the Sri Lankan Navy on innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen who eke out their livelihood by fishing in their traditional fishing grounds in the Indian Ocean,” Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Singh.
“Nineteen fishermen of Rameswaram have been in judicial custody in Sri Lanka since March 13, apart from five, languishing in jails there since more than a year and yet another incident of arrest of 30 fishermen has taken place yesterday
Referring to the arrest of 30 fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy on Saturday and the subsequent outcry it has generated, she urged Singh to impress upon that country’s government to take effective steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents of arrest or harassment of the state’s fishermen in the future
In her letter to Dr. Singh, the Chief Minister wanted him to impress upon the Sri Lankan government to take effective steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents of arrest or harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy in the future.
She added, “We are agitated by repeated incidents of capture of our fishermen while pursuing their livelihood in their traditional fishing grounds. The action of the Lankan Navy in continuously detaining the fishermen will only escalate the tensions between the two countries, besides creating immense unrest amongst the fishermen community”.
Jayalalithaa, who sought to link the increased instances of arrest of fishermen from her state to the escalated protests in Tamil Nadu over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, alleged that the neighbouring country has now resorted to such arrests and holding the fishermen in its jails.
“I also wish to reiterate that the acts of arrest and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen should be viewed as acts of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka,” she added.