Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask Sri Lanka to immediately release the 21 Indian fishermen apprehended by its Navy recently.
In a letter to the prime minister on Monday, Jayalalithaa requested the Indian government to ask "...the Government of Sri Lanka to release the Tamil Nadu fishermen without retaining them in custody".
The text of the letter was released to the media on Tuesday.
She said that 21 Indian fishermen from Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, who set sail on July 6 night, were abducted by the Sri Lankan Navy on the high seas. The fishermen have been remanded in custody in that country till July 19.
Jayalalithaa said another group of eight fishermen, who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 15, is still languishing in jails.
"Besides these five fishermen of Rameshwaram, eight more have been kept in Sri Lankan judicial custody since November 2011," she said.
"These rapacious onslaughts of the Sri Lankan Navy upon innocent and unarmed Indian fishermen are perpetrated with a view to intimidating and browbeating them to prevent them from venturing out to the fishing waters in the vicinity of Katchatheevu, which my government has always claimed to be a part of the traditional fishing areas of Indian fishermen," Jayalalithaa said.
She also claimed that such "unprovoked and violent acts" of the Sri Lankan Navy are not countered by India.