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
"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.