16 Fishermen Arrested: TN CM Jayalalithaa Writes letter To PM Modi

CHENNAI: Chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday wrote yet another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the fishermen issue.

In the wake of the arrest of 16 Rameswaram fishermen by the Lankan navy on July 7, Jayalalithaa said she was writing the letter “to strongly reiterate” her earlier exhortations for an early, permanent and peaceful solution to the livelihood issue affecting lakhs of fishermen from Tamil Nadu living along the coast bordering the Palk Bay.

Jayalalithaa sought urgent directions to the ministry of external affairs to initiate measures to find a permanent solution to the issue. “I also request your personal intervention to secure the immediate release of the 73 fishermen and 101 fishing boats, including the 16 fishermen and their 3 fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody,” she said. She called for “strong and decisive action” by the Centre with an appeal that the present situation not is allowed to fester in this manner.

She urged the Centre to secure their release at the earliest. The fishing boats too should be returned in a refurbished condition to the fishermen, she said. “I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of the government undertaking a strong diplomatic offensive to uphold the rights and interests of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu,” she said.

The apprehension, arrest and incarceration of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy continued unabated and in the latest instance, 16 Indian fishermen in 3 mechanised fishing boats from Rameswaram fishing base were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the early hours of July 7 and taken to Kankesanthurai, Sri Lanka, Jayalalithaa said.

With this, the total number of fishermen in Sri Lankan custody has reached 73. The CM said the unconstitutional ceding of the Indian territory of Katchateevu Island by the agreements of 1974 and 1976 had been challenged by her on valid legal grounds in the Supreme Court. Her government had subsequently impleaded itself in the case.