Chennai: Slamming Sri Lanka and India over the issue of repeated instances of arrest of Indian fishermen, DMK president M Karunanidhi on Thursday said the navy of that country had turned Bay of Bengal into an "open-air prison," and charged New Delhi with allowing that.
Referring to yesterday`s incident of Sri Lankan navy retaining 100 of the over 200 Indian fishermen it had arrested, Karunanidhi said DMK MPs had immediately raised the issue in the Parliament on his directions.
"Like it has been mentioned in a section of media, the British lodged our freedom fighters at the Andaman jail, located on Bay of Bengal. But the Sri Lankan navy is converting the entire Bay of Bengal into an open-air prison. Indian government is also allowing that," he said.
Central and state governments had not taken any useful steps to secure the release of 32 fishermen of Karaikal languishing in Sri Lankan prison for about 80 days even as Sri Lankan navy arrested yet another set of fishermen on Wednesday, he said in a statement.
The arrest has left a pall of gloom among their families, he said.
The DMK president said he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on October 6, explaining the need for urgent steps in this issue, while pointing out that 400 fishermen had been killed so far in alleged firing by that country`s navy.
Khurshid left for Sri Lanka later, Karunandihi said in an apparent reference to the former`s participation in CHOGM.
Khurshid was said to have taken up the fishermen issue with Lankan authorities but any number of discussions or requests seem to have made no impact with Colombo, he said.
The fate of fishermen had been left in a limbo by Central and state governments, he said while asking what was the progress of the proposed talks between fishermen association of either countries.
He said reports had suggested that Centre was still discussing the matter with the state government and said there should be no delay in this matter.