Condemning the Saturday arrest of 82 Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lanka Navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa impressed upon Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the safety of Tamil Nadu fishermen. In a release dated Sunday, she urged the PM “to put an end to the unabated, brutal, unprovoked attacks on and abduction of our fishermen by the marauding Sri Lankan Navy” and to arrive at a permanent solution to this problem along with “a strong and robust diplomatic response”. Referring to consistent attacks on the Tamil Nadu fishermen in the past three years, she also lamented that despite a change of regime in the centre, these brutal assaults by the Sri Lanka Navy continued unabated. As an immediate measure, she called on India to register “the strongest disapproval of the belligerent actions of the Sri Lankan Navy.”
“The repetition of such aggressive acts by the Sri Lankan side, immediately after the change in Government at the Centre and the consequent reset in our relations with Sri Lanka does not seem to augur well for the peaceful pursuit of fishing in the Palk Bay by fishermen from Tamil Nadu,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.
“It is important that the repeated infringements and effective abrogation of the very basic human right to livelihood of our fishermen to fish in their traditional waters of the Palk Bay, to which they have a historic claim, are strongly and decisively dealt with by the Government of India at the highest diplomatic level with the Government of Sri Lanka,” the release added.
Referring to her earlier appeals, and of exploring talks between fishermen from both sides “provided they are held in a conducive atmosphere and in an accommodative spirit of mutual understanding and reciprocity”, she also said that “obdurate and obstructive attitudes” of the Sri Lankan government led to failure of talks in Colombo in May 2014.
“In order to put an end to the unabated, brutal, unprovoked attacks on and abduction of our fishermen by the marauding Sri Lankan Navy, the time has now come to lay down a time bound action plan to achieve a long-term, permanent solution to the problem and also to put in place a strong and robust diplomatic response. I am confident that with the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu acting in concert, it would be possible to achieve a permanent solution to this vexatious issue,” she further said.