Prime Minister asked to take up fishermen arrest issue with Sri Lanka


Chennai : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to take up with the Sri Lankan government the issue of the arrest of 23 Indian fishermen by its navy.

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She said unless the government intervened, such incidents could recur in the coming months.

In a letter to Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa said: “Kindly take up this issue with the Sri Lankan government and request it to instruct its navy to refrain from arresting fishermen who conduct fishing in their traditional waters only for eking out their livelihood.”

“I also wish to point out that unless the government of India intervenes in this issue, there is every possibility of recurrence of such incidents in the coming months,” she said.

According to her, 23 fishermen from Rameswaram went fishing in five mechanised boats when they were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and kept under custody in Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka.

She said the men were fishing in the sea off Katchatheevu (an islet in Palk Strait) in their traditional fishing waters when they were held.

“The intention of the Sri Lankan Navy to instill fear in the minds of the fishermen and prevent them from conducting fishing in their traditional waters is very obvious from the above incident of apprehension. The above actions of the Sri Lankan Navy have created a feeling of insecurity in the minds of the fishermen, who feel that there is no guarantee for their life and property in the sea, in the prevailing situation,” Jayalalithaa said in her letter.