December 22, 2016
Chennai: Taking exception to the “alarmingly increasing frequency of apprehension” of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday urged the Centre to “act decisively” and bring back 51 fishermen languishing in the island republic.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister cited the latest instance of the Lankan navy arresting 29 fishermen from Ramanathapuram and Pudukkottai districts and said these came just a day after the arrest of seven of their counterparts from Pudukkottai.
“The alarmingly increasing frequency of apprehension of our fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy is a matter of utmost concern for my Government. An immediate intervention at the highest level is sought to resolve this longstanding issue,” he noted. “The recurrent instances of attacks and abduction of our fishermen on the high seas in the Palk Bay should be stopped immediately. Our fishermen should be allowed to pursue their peaceful avocation of fishing in their traditional fishing waters of the Palk Bay.”
He reiterated Tamil Nadu’s stand that the Centre should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line with Sri Lanka as a settled question since the constitutionality of the 1974 Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement ceding Katchatheevu islet had been challenged in the Supreme Court by his predecessor, J Jayalalithaa, with the State government later impleading itself in the case.