Chennai: Chief minister J. Jayalalithaa on Saturday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention for the release of 80 fishermen, apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy.
Timing her letter with World Fisheries Day observed on November 21, and drawing attention to frequent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen, she wrote in her letter, “Use the highest diplomatic channels of the Union government to secure the immediate release of TN fishermen and 47 fishing boats detained by the island nation.”
“I would like to bring to your notice the latest incident on November 21, in which the Sri Lankan Navy brutally abducted 20 poor innocent fishermen along with their five fishing boats while they were fishing in their traditional waters of Palk Bay. Twenty fishermen set out for fishing from Jagadhapattinam and Kottaipattinam fishing bases of Pudukottai district on November 20 in five mechanised fishing boats bearing TN registration numbers. When the global fishermen’s community was in a festive mood, celebrating World Fisheries Day, this dastardly act of the Sri Lankan navy has again cast a pall of gloom,” the letter read.
Incidents of abduction and detention of fishermen from Tamil Nadu for long periods in Lankan prisons have multiplied, even as the Union government takes little or no action to convey India’s strong protest or to use coercive diplomacy to put an end to these marauding attacks, she wrote.
The very serious livelihood problem of hundreds of thousands of our fishermen is, in fact, being relegated to the backburner as something to be sorted out by the fishermen’s associations of both countries, the letter said, adding that the continued insensitive and ham-handed treatment of the Tamil Nadu fishermen’s issue in Palk Bay, is fast alienating the fishermen’s community in Tamil Nadu, who justifiably feel that they have been let down by their own national government.