Chennai: Describing the recurring incidents of attacks and "abductions" of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy as acts of "an unfriendly nation", Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Tuesday urged the Centre to adopt a "coercive diplomacy" against Colombo to end their harassment.
Referring to the August 3 arrest of 20 Indian fishermen from the state by the Lankan Navy, the chief minister said she had told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that it was yet another "outrageous incident".
"I have been repeatedly writing to you about the travails of innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen who face harassment, abduction, assault and apprehension at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy, which continues its menacing and predatory acts in the face of the immobility and apathy of Government of India to the plight of these innocent fishermen."
The ineffective response of the Government of India has emboldened the Lankan Navy to continue such predatory attacks on Indian fishermen with impunity, she told Singh in a letter.
She said such frequent arrests and detention for long periods had created tension and agitation among the fishermen community in the state which "now nurses a strong grievance against the government of India that it has forsaken them in a time of crisis and is apathetic to their interests."
"These continuous attacks and abductions are acts of an unfriendly nation and should be countered effectively by coercive diplomacy. A strong message should be delivered through diplomatic channels that India will not tolerate these attacks. Our diplomats in Colombo should take up the matter with the Government of Sri Lanka and take concrete steps to secure the immediate release of all 90 fishermen who are now in Sri Lankan jails," Jayalalithaa said.
She also requested Singh to take immediate steps to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with Sri Lanka to immediately stop recurrence of such incidents of arrest and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Straits," which is their traditional fishing area from time immemorial."