TN threatens to call off talks if fishermen not released
The Tamil Nadu government today threatened to call off the bilateral talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka here tomorrow if 54 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested recently by the Navy of the island nation, were not released as assured by the Lankan government.
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government today threatened to call off the bilateral talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka here tomorrow if 54 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested recently by the Navy of the island nation, were not released as assured by the Lankan government.
An official release here said that following persistent efforts by the state government, which had informed the Centre that talks without the release of the 54 arrested fishermen would be of no use, the Lankan government had informed that they would be released tomorrow.
"The talks will start at 11 am here tomorrow on the guarantee by the Sri Lankan government that the fishermen will be produced in Sri Lankan courts before being released. If they are not released, talks will be immediately called off," it said.
The talks will be based on a six-point agenda which include ending attacks on and arrests of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan navy and confiscation of their equipment, discussing speedy repatriation of arrested persons and their boats and working out mutually acceptable fishing boundaries and methods in the Palk Bay, it said.
Further, the talks will be held without any prejudice to a case filed by the state government in the Supreme Court of India seeking retrieval of Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka in 1974, it said.
The state government has also informed the Centre that resolutions adopted in the meeting will be implemented only after its approval, it added.
A total of 17 fishermen - 12 from Tamil Nadu and five from Puducherry - will represent the Indian side along with state Fisheries Minister K A Jeyabal and Department Secretary S Vijayakumar. Senior officials of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry would be observers.
The Centre will be represented by Suchitra Durai, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, besides others.
The Sri Lankan side will include its top fisheries official MCI Fernando and others while a ten-member fishermen delegation will hold discussions with their Indian counterparts, it added.
Two rounds of talks were held last year but no decision was arrived at at the meets.