June 26, 2017
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday told the Union Government that in spite of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) between India and Sri Lanka being sub-judice due to the ceding of Katchatheevu islet, the Sri Lankan Navy is continuing its marauding attacks on and abductions of State fishermen in their traditional waters.
In a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Palaniswami said “the Sri Lankan Navy is persisting with its mid sea abductions of fishermen from Tamil Nadu from their traditional fishing waters in the Palk Bay, while peacefully pursuing their centuries old avocation”.
Palaniswami’s statement came against the backdrop of 11 fishermen, who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the late hours of June, 24 and taken to Thalaimannar and Kankesanthurai, Sri Lanka.
“These frequent instances which occur on an everyday basis in which our boats with innocent fishermen are being apprehended with impunity by the Sri Lankan Navy, has a demoralizing impact not just on the fishermen, but also on people of Tamil Nadu, who strongly believe that the fishermen have a genuine claim to the Palk Bay fishing grounds from where they are being apprehended”, he said.
Pointing out that the Government of Sri Lanka has not released any of the fishing boats that were apprehended since January, 2015, Palaniswami said “the Sri Lankan Government’s inhumane strategy of not releasing the boats of our fishermen is causing great loss of livelihood to the fishermen and their families.
He said there was wide expectation among the people of Tamil Nadu that the boats apprehended since 2015 would be released as an outcome of your meeting with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister in April, 2017.
“The alarming increase in the frequency of abductions by the”Sri Lankan Navy is a matter of utmost concern for the Government and the people of Tamil Nadu”, he said adding “an immediate intervention at the highest level is sought to resolve this long standing livelihood issue of our fishermen”, he said.
Palaniswami urged Modi to take up the issue with the highest authorities of the Sri Lankan Government and ensure the immediate release of the 42 fishermen and all the 141 boats including 14 fishermen and their 3 mechanised fishing boats apprehended on June 24.