Chennai: Voicing dismay over continuing arrests of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has told the Centre that such repeated actions undermine all confidence and goodwill which two countries are attempting to build.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, she referred to the arrest of 19 Tamil Nadu fishermen two days back and said she was at a "loss of words to convey my deep anguish over the repeated apprehension and incarceration" of a large number of fishermen.
The fishermen from Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram, besides their five mechanised boats, were `abducted` by Lankan Navy while fishing in their `customary waters` in Palk Bay, she said, in the letter which was released today by government.
This had sent shock waves among the community who were looking forward to a pragmatic and workable solution on their day-to-day fishing activities in Palk Straits following last week`s talks between fishermen representatives from both sides, Jayalalithaa said.
"Such repeated actions undermine all the confidence and goodwill which we are attempting to build. It would give rise to greater frustration in the minds of the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, not only about the attitude of the Sri Lankan Government, but also about inability of Indian Government to effectively protect their interests," she said.
It also makes Tamil Nadu fishermen wonder if there was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Sri Lankan navy "to derail the process of finding a peaceful resolution to the issue," she said.
Reminding Singh about the arrest of 38 fishermen on January 29, she said they were still in Sri Lankan custody.
"May I once again urge your immediate personal intervention and exhort you to use the diplomatic channels of the Government of India to secure the immediate release of 57 fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan Jails and their 11 boats at the earliest," she said in the letter.