Voicing concern over detention of boats and gear of arrested Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu government has sought Central intervention in securing their release, besides that of nine fishermen arrested recently.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that though Indian fishermen from her state arrested by Lankan Navy in 2015 had been released due to her “repeated requests and the Government of India’s efforts,” their gear had, however, not been given back. “Their boats and fishing gear, which are essential to earn their livelihood, have not yet been released, aggravating the sense of frustration and despondency amongst the fisherfolk of Tamil Nadu,” she said in a letter to him.
Referring to the latest instance of arrest of nine Indian fishermen from Pudukottai district on Saturday, she sought Modi’s personal intervention for their release.
“I urge your personal intervention to prevent the aggravation that the Sri Lankan authorities and Navy are causing to our fishermen,” she said in the letter dated January 31, which was released today by the government. “I specifically request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities urgently and secure the immediate release of the 15 fishermen and 69 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody,” she said.
The fishing boats and gear should be restored “in a refurbished condition by the Government of India at the earliest,” the Chief Minister added.
She also reiterated her demand for a Rs 1,520 crore deep sea fishing package for her state and insisted that the Indo- Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 ceding Katchatheevu islet to the island nation was “unconstitutional.” She pointed out to a case in Supreme Court filed by her in this regard.