Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday said it would release 30 Sri Lankan fishermen and their 19 boats on December 22 so that they can celebrate Christmas with their families.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the text of which was released to the media here, Panneerselvam said: "Ordinarily, we would have expected the government of India to have supported the government of Tamil Nadu's stand and prevailed upon the Sri Lankan government to arrange a simultaneous release of fishermen and their boats."
According to Panneerselvam, this possibility has been ruled out by the central government.
Referring to the Christmas festival, Panneerselvam said the state government "...is prepared to release 30 Sri Lankan fishermen and their 19 boats currently in custody in Tamil Nadu on December 22, after completion of formalities, so that they can return home and celebrate Christmas with their families".
Panneerselvam requested Modi to ensure that the government of Sri Lanka also releases the 66 Tamil Nadu fishermen and their 81 boats it has from custody at the same time so that they can also return home for Christmas.