Chennai: Voicing her serious concern over
increasing attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by the
Sri Lankan navy, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday said such
assaults on Indian citizens should be viewed as "an act of
provocation and aggression against India."
Jayalalithaa conveyed her strong sentiments to Foreign
Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who called on her here ahead of his
three-day Colombo visit beginning today.
"Incidents of apprehension and assault of fishermen
belonging to Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy should be
viewed not as an assault on Tamil fishermen, but as an assault
on Indian citizens and should be viewed as an act of
provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka, similar
to firing across the borders of India by neighbours such as
Pakistan and China," she told Mathai.
Noting that 16 such incidents had taken place since this
May, she said the attacks should be viewed as a national issue
and not an isolated problem of Tamil Nadu alone, a state
government release quoting her said.
She said most incidents of detention and harassment have
occurred off Ramanathapuram and Nagapattinam districts and
that the Sri Lankan miscreants/fishermen have in the past one
month, taken away fishing implements and catch from Tamil Nadu
fishermen, especially off Nagapattinam District coast.
"As the boats sailing out of Sri Lanka are under the close
surveillance of the Sri Lankan Navy, there is every likelihood
that these incidents took place with the knowledge of the Sri
Lankan Navy," she said adding Mathai should take up the matter
with the Sri Lankan authorities during his visit there.
She also told him of the apprehensions of local fishermen
that people who threatened them may actually be personnel of
the Sri Lankan Navy in the guise of fishermen.