New Delhi: In a rare display of unanimity among Tamil parties, DMK and AIADMK on Monday pressed the Centre to secure release of 14 fishermen recently arrested by Sri Lanka, even as they thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for securing release of five others on death row.
Raising the issue in Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) said timely intervention by the Modi government had helped in release of five fishermen on death row but their three boats were not returned.
Sri Lankan Navy had arrested 14 fishermen on November 23 near Jaffna Peninsula on charges of poaching in Lankan waters. On Friday, it arrested four more.
Siva said 24 fishermen are already languishing in Sri Lankan prisons and as many as 78 fishing boats are in their captivity.
The Central government should "take initiative for release of boats and fishermen," he said, adding permanent solution to the problem lies in India reclaiming ownership of Katchatheevu island.
Without naming anybody, he said a senior BJP leader had been claiming that Sri Lanka had not released the fishermen's boats after he made an appeal to the nation's President for the same.
The BJP has not disowned the statement, he said asking the ruling party to stop such "irresponsible comments".
S Muthukaruppan (AIADMK) said Sri Lankan navy pelted stones on the Indian fishermen before arresting them, three of whom were below the age of 18 years.
The government should help secure timely release of the fishermen and stop "barbic" actions of Sri Lankan Navy.
Earlier, Ashok S Ganguly (Nom) raised the issue of a certain Tamil leader celebrating the slain LTTE leader V Prabhakaran's birthday on November 26.
Prabhakaran, he said, had ordered killing of former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and the scene of a leader cutting cake and distributing it among his followers was "reprehensible and unimaginable".
Lodging strong protest, he said the House should join in condemning it.
Siva said law and order was state issue and cannot be raised but Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien overruled him.
Sukhdev Singh Dhinsa (SAD) raised the issue of prisoners languishing in jails even after completion of their term particularly those involved in the 1984 incident at Golden Temple.
Prabhat Jha (BJP) raised the issue of high level of mercury and flouride contaminating water in 100 villages in the Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh and Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, which house big power plants.
Children of physically handicapped persons are being born physically handicapped, he said adding complaints to district administration as well as National Green Tribunal have gone unheard. "Electricity should be generated but not at this cost," he said.