19 June 2016
Expressing serious concern over the arrest of three more fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Lankan Navy, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate immediate efforts to find a permanent and pragmatic workable solution to this livelihood issue of our fishermen. “I request your personal intervention in the matter and request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to secure the immediate release of the 24 fishermen and 93 fishing boats, including the three fishermen and their one mechanised fishing boat apprehended on June 15 at the earliest”, Jayalalithaa said in her letter dated June 16 to the Prime Minister. Pointing out that the Lankan authorities had been adamantly refusing to recognise the traditional and historic rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen to eke out their livelihood from fishing in the traditional waters of the Palk Bay, the Chief Minister said, “At the root of the problem are the ill-advised Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 which unconstitutionally ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka.” The Chief Minister also recalled that the Sri Lankan government had been adopting a strategy of detaining boats for long periods of time. “The prolonged detention and idling of fishing craft without care make them unworthy for further sailing, thus causing immense loss and misery to the fishermen”, she added.