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Tamil Nadu resents arrest of 5 fishermen by Lankan navy

The Tamil Nadu government objected to the arrest of five fishermen from the state by Sri Lanka, saying it can only be seen as an act to "derail" the diplomatic bids to resolve the issues pertaining to fishing.

Tamil Nadu resents arrest of 5 fishermen by Lankan navy
File photo of TN CM Edappadi K Palanisamy with PM Narendra Modi


In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister K Palaniswami raised the April 30 arrests of the five fishermen, hailing from Thangachimadam in Rameswaram, by Lankan navy.

"Such incidents of apprehension of artisanal fishermen who were fishing in a small traditional boat in their customary fishing grounds in Palk Bay can only be seen as an act to derail attempts to sort out the issues relating to the fishing in traditional waters of the Palk Bay through diplomatic efforts of the respective governments," he said.

It is "unfortunate" that the Sri Lankan government continues to "intimidate" Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu "who eke out their livelihood through the traditional fishing methods," he added.

The arrests also send out a "demoralising message" to the Tamil Nadu fishermen, Palaniswamy said.

He said it is important that the Centre tells Sri Lanka in "firm, clear, unequivocal and unambiguous terms" that these trends have to be reversed and that the Indian government is firmly committed to protect the livelihood of the poor and innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu.

Palaniswami said 134 fishing boats are in Sri Lankan custody and they continue to be 'precariously' perched on the seashore there.

Sri Lanka's refusal to release the boats is causing frustration and despondency among the Tamil Nadu fishermen, he said.

He said though the Lankan government agreed to consider release the boats, no final decision has been taken in this regard and even during the recent meeting of the prime ministers of India and Sri Lanka, no announcement was made on this aspect.

He appealed to the Centre to take up the issue with the highest authorities of the island republic and ensure immediate release of the boats.

He also sought the Centre's efforts to secure the release of the five fishermen arrested on Sunday.

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