Chennai: Taking up the latest detention of seven fishermen, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send a firm message to Sri Lanka over continued apprehension of the state's fishermen and said a permanent solution would be in restoring India's sovereignty over Katchatheevu islet.
Panneerselvam in a letter to the PM Modi said the boats and fishermen were reportedly taken to Karainagar in Sri Lanka by their navy personnel and were remanded in custody.
"It is the consistent stand of the government of Tamil Nadu that a permanent solution to this vexatious problem faced by our fishermen will be possible only by restoring India's sovereignty over Katchatheevu by securing the right to fish in traditional waters," he said.
The right of the fishermen is continuously infringed upon by the Sri Lankan's Navy "recurrent" actions of apprehension, the Chief minister said.
Demanding that the Centre send a firm message to Sri Lanka on the issue, he said 109 boats, including the two boats apprehended today, should be released by the island nation.
"The Sri Lankan strategy of not releasing boats of our fishermen is causing great frustration among the fishermen of Tamil Nadu. Without their livelihood base, fishermen are in a state of despondency," he said.
Panneerselvam requested Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry to take up the matter with Sri Lankan authorities to ensure immediate release of 22 fishermen and 109 boats.
On Monday, seven Tamil Nadu fishermen were detained and their two mechanised fishing boats were seized by Lankan navy personnel for allegedly fishing near Neduntheevu in the island nation.
The fishermen from Jegadapattinam hamlet in Pudukottai district were taken to Kangesanthurai Port there, along with their boats.
The apprehension of fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy continues 'unabated' despite Indo-Sri Lankan fishermen level talks and Inter-Ministerial talks being held from time to time, he said.
Pudukottai Fisheries Department Assistant Director, Sekar told media yesterday that the Lankan navy also allegedly rammed the boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen against one of the mechanised boats and sank it leaving five fishermen on board to struggle in the sea till fellow fishermen rescued them.