Zee Media Bureau
Chennai: In the backdrop of the recent arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, on Sunday evening, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking for a permanent solution in this matter.
In her letter to Modi, Jayalalithaa demanded action against the Mahinda Rajapaksa government for capturing 82 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and seizing 18 boats, saying, "As an immediate measure, I request you to kindly ensure that India registers the strongest disapproval of the belligerent actions of the Sri Lankan Navy."
The AIADMK also requested the PM to lay down a time-bound action plan so as to achieve a "long-term, permanent solution to the fishermen issue and also to put in place a strong and robust diplomatic response".
Requesting that the issue be raised at the highest level on the Sri Lankan side to secure the fishermen`s release, Jayalalithaa added, "I am confident that with the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu acting in concert, it would be possible to achieve a permanent solution to this vexatious issue."
"There have been 77 incidents of apprehension and 67 incidents of harassment and attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy in the last three years, causing tremendous agitation amongst the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu," she said.
The repetition of aggressive acts by Sri Lankan side, immediately after the change in government at the Centre and the consequent reset in the relations with Sri Lanka does not seem to augur well for the peaceful pursuit of fishing in the Palk Bay by fishermen from Tamil Nadu, she contended.
Observing that retrieval of Katchatheevu and talks between fishermen of the two sides could also help to resolve day to day issues, she said, "Even on this limited issue, the Sri Lankan side had adopted obdurate and obstructive attitudes which led to the failure of the last round of talks held in Colombo in May 2014."
Jayalalithaa thanked Modi for his prompt action taken on her earlier letter on June 1, which led to the release of 33 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.
"Owing to your immediate intervention, all the fishermen were promptly released without being subjected to prolonged detention," she added.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, last month had ordered the release of Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture. He had attended the swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 26 in Delhi.
Talks between India and Sri Lanka on the fishermen issue had ended in a deadlock early last month and negotiators are scheduled to meet again this month.
Sri Lanka had shot down a request from Tamil Nadu fishermen to allow fishing in Lankan waters for 70 days a year and to allow bottom trawling.