Jayalalithaa wants PM to summon Lankan envoy

Jayalalitha.jpg 2     Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to summon the high commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi to stop ‘unprovoked assaults’ on innocent Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy.

In her letter to Singh, a copy of which was released to the media, Jayalalithaa said there was yet another instance of ‘illegal detention’ of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. In the latest incident, 21 fishermen from Ramanathapuram district, who set sail for fishing in five boats on July 6, were held on the high seas. The fishermen have been remanded to custody in Sri Lanka till July 19. “Unprovoked and violent acts of the Sri Lankan navy unfortunately remain uncountered by the government of India. This will only exacerbate the situation and create more unrest amongst the fishermen community of Tamil Nadu,” she said.

 Jayalalithaa slammed the Union ministry of external affairs for allegedly maintaining stoic silence on the fishermen issue. “There appears to be no effort to engage the Sri Lankan government in any dialogue to permanently resolve this vexatious issue,” she said.

On July 2, Sri Lanka released 49 Indian fishermen, who had been arrested a month ago, on charges of entering Lankan waters.

On June 15, the Lankan army apprehended eight fishermen. They are still in Lankan jails. Besides, five fishermen from Rameswaram have been in judicial custody since November 2011 on charges of smuggling.

Jayalalithaa said the attack on Indian fishermen was meant to prevent them from venturing into the waters near Katchatheevu. The Tamil Nadu government has been claiming that Katchatheevu, a tiny islet near Rameswaram (ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974), is part of the traditional fishing areas of Indian fishermen. {Times of India)

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