July 7, 2017
Condemning the Fisheries Bill that was passed by Sri Lankan Parliament, Tamil Nadu Government expressed its concern saying the bill was aimed at preventing Indian fishermen from exercising their fishing rights in the Palk Bay.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said India should register its strong disapproval to the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Amendment) Bill.
Stating the historical rights of the Indian fishermen were simply signed away as part of the ill advised Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 which also unilaterally ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka without having any foresight or concern for the plight of the fishermen, the Chief Minister said “consequently the right to livelihood of our fishermen, who historically and traditionally fish in the Palk Bay, continues to be infringed upon by the Sri Lankan authorities”.
“The new Bill introduced and passed by the Parliament of Sri Lanka is another retrograde step taken by the Sri Lankan Government to destroy the already paralysed livelihood of lakhs of our fishermen,” Palaniswami said.
“Passing of the ill-advised Bill at a time when the Ministers of India and Sri Lanka as well as Joint Working Group on Fisheries have met only recently to resolve the Indo-Sri Lankan fishermen issues is shocking”, he said adding the unilateral move by the Government of Sri Lanka will definitely hamper the joint initiatives taken by India as well as the neighbouring nation.
Stating that the legislation proposed is, in fact, a severe setback to the diplomatic efforts being taken to resolve the issue amicably, Palaniswami urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian mission in Sri Lanka to register India’s strong protest against the move and ensuring that necessary provisions are made in the new legislation to exempt the traditional waters of Palk Bay from its purview.