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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2341

Take up arrest of Indian fishermen strongly, ensure safety and security of our fishermen in the Palk Bay - Edappadi K Palaniswami

Chennai, 06 March, (Asiantribune.com):

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to secure the safe release of 48 Indian fishermen and 122 fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody.

Taking up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami, in a letter, said the state government was “extremely” concerned over such incidents and sought Centre’s intervention into the matter. Such incidents of the arrest of “our fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy (should) be taken up strongly at the highest diplomatic level to ensure the safety and security of our fishermen in the Palk Bay,” he said.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu is extremely concerned about the continuing apprehension and detention of our fishermen and their boats,” Palaniswami said. The fishermen were arrested while fishing near Katchatheevu islet.

In the latest incident, nine fishermen in a mechanized fishing boat who set sail from Nagappatinam fishing base and four fishermen in a mechanised fishing boat who set sail from Rameswaram fishing base were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy on Thursday. The boats and fishermen were taken to Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka.

"Such incidents of apprehension of our fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy should be taken up strongly at the highest diplomatic level to ensure the safety and security of our fishermen in the Palk Bay," Palaniswami said in a letter to Modi, a copy of which was released to the media here.

The fishermen were arrested while fishing near Katchatheevu islet. At present, 48 fishermen and 122 fishing boats, including those detained today, were under Lankan custody, the Chief Minister said, adding, boats and fishing gear which were their only means of livelihood were still “impounded” in Lanka.

He said late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had earlier repeatedly pointed out that Sri Lanka was following “a deliberate strategy of keeping the apprehended fishing boats of our fishermen in custody and thereby completely impairing their only source of livelihood.” “Without their livelihood base, these fishermen are in a state of despondency. Though the Government of Sri Lanka committed to consider the release of these boats, no decision has been taken in this regard,” he said.

He recalled the repeated letters from his predecessor, J Jayalalithaa, had pointed to the "deliberate strategy of keeping the apprehended fishing boats of our fishermen in custody and thereby completely impairing the only source of livelihood of poor fishermen."

He recalled that Jayalalithaa, as Opposition Leader in 2008, had filed a case in the apex court challenging the constitutional validity of the Indo-Lanka agreement on ceding Katchatheevu islet to the island republic. The state government had later impleaded itself in the case.

Reminding the Sri Lankan government's commitment to consider the release of boats, Palaniswami urged Modi to ensure the immediate release of the precariously berthed boats which continue to suffer damage with every passing day.

- Asian Tribune –

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami
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