‘Coast Guard stand on TN fishermen `outrageous`’
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Last Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2011, 13:34
Chennai: Terming the Coast Guard stand in the High Court on the fishermen issue as "outrageous", Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to rectify it before any "irredeemable damage" is done.

Jayalalithaa's sharp response came in a letter to Singh following an affidavit filed by Coast Guard in the Madras High Court, stating local fishermen cross the International Maritime Boundary Line and fish in Sri Lankan waters.

Slamming the Coast Guard stand in the affidavit as "blatantly condemnable", she expressed her "total disagreement" with it and said it was "illogical, preposterous and absolutely outrageous."

The Coast Guard, which had filed its counter affidavit in response to a PIL seeking coast guard protection for fishermen from attacks allegedly by Lankan Navy, had also said the local fishermen used nets banned in Sri Lanka.

"It has also been suggested by the ICG in the counter affidavit that Tamil Nadu should proclaim a 'No Fishing Zone' within five nautical miles distance from the Indo-Sri Lankan International Maritime Boundary Line and impose strict punitive measures against the defaulter," Jayalalithaa noted.

She said Indian fishermen traditionally enjoyed fishing rights since "time immemorial," in the waters of Palk Bay without any geographical or political boundaries.

"I understand that the issue of allowing fishing in each others' waters on a mutually agreed basis is being discussed by the Joint Working Group involving Indian and Sri Lankan authorities," she said, adding that "it is really surprising that the Indian Coast Guard has taken such a blatantly condemnable stand."

"If this stand is implemented, it will mean that the Tamil Nadu fishermen have to stop fishing and starve, which I am sure, is not the intention of the Government of India," the chief minister said.

Jayalalithaa requested the Prime Minister to instruct authorities to rectify the said stand before the court at the earliest before "any irredeemable damage is done."

This is Jayalalithaa's fifth letter to the Prime Minister on the contentious issue of recurring attacks on fishermen.


First Published: Saturday, November 26, 2011, 13:32

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