New Delhi : Asserting that the situation at sea remains precarious with the continued offensive acts of the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently direct the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to use diplomatic channels to ensure that Indian fishermen are allowed to peacefully pursue their livelihood in their traditional fishing waters.
Four fishermen in a mechanised fishing boat from Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the late hours of June 4 and taken to Kankesanthurai, Sri Lanka.
“This is to bring to your notice yet another incident in which four fishermen from Tamil Nadu have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy and their right to fishing in their traditional waters infringed upon. This is the third such incident within a week,” said Jayalalithaa.
“I request the Government of India to mount a strong diplomatic initiative to uphold the rights and interests of our Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu,” she added.
The unconstitutional ceding of Katchatheevu by the agreements of 1974 and 1976 is central to this problem.
Jayalalithaa further said, “The Sri Lankan strategy of not releasing the fishing boats, the main source of livelihood of the poor fishermen, is further aggravating the situation.”
“At present, there are 90 fishing boats impounded and insecurely berthed in Sri Lanka and are undergoing severe deterioration. I request you to urgently direct the Ministry of External Affairs to use diplomatic channels to ensure that our fishermen are allowed to peacefully pursue their livelihood in their traditional fishing waters,” she added.
Jayalalithaa also urged the Centre to intervene to secure the immediate release of the 15 fishermen and 91 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody, including the four fishermen and one mechanised fishing boat apprehended on June 4. (ANI)