Pressurise Lanka to withdraw stricter fisheries law: DMK, Congress

Leader of Opposition MK Stalin has asked Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to rush to Delhi and personally urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mount diplomatic pressure on Colombo to withdraw the “inhuman legislation” enacted by the neighbouring country against Indian fishermen fishing in the Palk Strait.
Pressurise Lanka to withdraw stricter fisheries law: DMK, Congress
DMK Working President MK Stalin


Sri Lankan Parliament had reportedly enacted a legislation that provides for imposing exorbitant sum as penalty on Indian fishermen venturing in to the Lankan waters (Palk Strait).
Describing the legislation as “draconian” and “contrary to natural justice and international human rights,” Stalin asked Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to urge Colombo through diplomatic channels to recall the legislation passed by the Sri Lankan Parliament.
Urging the ruling BJP to immediately register its opposition to the draconian penal provisions in the legislation, Stalin added that the new law would prevent Indian fishermen, whose livelihood has already been jeopardised by arrests and seizures of boats by Sri Lankan navy, from even venturing into traditional fishing waters of Palk Strait.
The DMK working president also expressed ‘shock’ at the legislation, which, he claimed, would allow Colombo to impose between Rs 50 lakh to 7.24 crore as penalty on Indian fishermen. Referring to the bilateral talks taking place between the two countries, including at the diplomatic level, on the fishermen issue since 2014, Stalin accused Colombo of backstabbing New Delhi even while describing India as a friendly nation.
Joining the issue with ally DMK, state Congress president Su Thirunavukkarasar on Thursday accused the ruling BJP at the Centre of failing in its external affairs policy in connection with the issue. Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swaraj to own responsibility for Sri Lanka enacting the stringent legislation, Thirunavukkarasar announced a state-wide agitation by the party’s fishermen wing on January 30.
It’s human rights violation, says Jayakumar
Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, who spoke to the media earlier in the day, asserted that the Sri Lankan legislation is in violation of human rights. “It is highly condemnable and is in gross violation of our territorial fishing rights of our fishermen,” he said.
“The matter would be taken up with the Centre and the safety of our fishermen would be ensured,” he added, expressing his resentment. He reiterated that gauging the boundaries in high seas would be tough.
Terming Sri Lanka’s latest Foreign Fishing Vessels Bill as ‘unilateral move,’ Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami observed it would have far reaching implications on the livelihood propositions of Tamil Nadu fishermen and hamper proactive efforts taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu and the diplomatic efforts taken by the Government of India.
Considering the state’s stand seeking to abrogate the ceding of Katchatheevu and its subsequent litigation, the CM demanded that the Centre registered its strong disapproval at the highest diplomatic level.
He sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Mission in Sri Lanka to immediately and effectively respond by registering strong protest on the new legislation besides ensuring that the Act was not implemented.

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