Chennai: Expressing serious concern over detention of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lankan jails, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately secure the release of all the 97 fishermen, along with their boats.
"The continued imprisonment of our fishermen is causing considerable tension and ill will amongst fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu. Early decisive action by the Government of India is very essential and cannot be postponed indefinitely," she said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Expressing shock over a Sri Lankan court extending remand of 35 fishermen of Ramanathapuram district till September 22, she also condemned the deportation of 21 fishermen of Nagapattinam district, who she said would have to further go through the harrowing process of deportation.
"This harassment of innocent fishermen being deported like criminals could have been averted if the Government of India had taken up their cause effectively through diplomatic channels. The case relating to release of the boats has now been adjourned for hearing on September 26. These fishermen are yet to reach their homes."
Reiterating that a case was fabricated against five fishermen, she said they were languishing in various jails in Sri Lanka since November 29 2011.
"I once again urge you to intervene personally and ensure that the matter is taken up in the most forceful diplomatic manner possible to ensure that the remaining Indian fishermen and their boats are released and a permanent solution is found to this long-simmering issue," she said.
Condemning Sri Lanka for its "cold, calculated and unethical attitude," in dealing with Tamil Nadu fishermen, she said it had recently adopted a new strategy of impounding the boats and releasing fishermen after long periods of detention.
"The Sri Lankan government has therefore made it very apparent that it is not ready to allow the Tamil Nadu fishermen to earn their livelihood by fishing in their traditional waters," Jayalalithaa said.