Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take immediate action to secure the release of 34 fishermen from the state and 88 fishing boats, including 21 fishermen and three traditional fishing boats, apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on April 27.
"I write to bring to your personal attention that 22 fishermen in three traditional fishing boats from Tamil Nadu set out for fishing from the Rameswaram fishing base of Ramanathapuram District on 27.4.2016 and have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy and taken to Thalaimannar, Sri Lanka. They were engaged in fishing in their traditional waters of Palk Bay when the Sri Lankan Navy apprehended them," Jayalalithaa stated in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Pointing out that India should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question, the chief minister said, "Once again, I reiterate the Government of Tamil Nadu`s stand that the Government of India should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question, as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements have been challenged on extremely valid and legal grounds in the Honble Supreme Court of India."
Saying that 85 fishing boats and 13 Tamil fishermen were still languishing in Sri Lankan custody, she added, "The prolonged detention and disuse of the boats would have damaged them, thereby causing immeasurable loss of livelihood to the poor fishermen."
"I once again request the Government of India to secure the release of the fishing boats and restore them in a refurbished condition to the fishermen at the earliest," she urged.