Chennai: Taking exception to the "alarmingly increasing frequency of apprehension" of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday urged the Centre to "act decisively" and bring back 51 fishermen languishing in the island republic.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he cited the latest instance of the Lankan navy arresting 29 fishermen from Ramanathapuram and Pudukottai districts and said these came just a day after the arrest of seven of their counterparts from Pudukottai.
"The alarmingly increasing frequency of apprehension of our fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy is a matter of utmost concern for my Government. An immediate intervention at the highest level is sought to resolve this longstanding issue," he said.
"The recurrent instances of attacks and abduction of our fishermen on the high seas in the Palk Bay should be stopped immediately. Our fishermen should be allowed to pursue their peaceful avocation of fishing in their traditional fishing waters of the Palk Bay," he said in the letter.
He reiterated Tamil Nadu's stand that Centre should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line with Sri Lanka as a settled question since the constitutionality of the 1974 Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement ceding Katchatheevu islet had been challenged in the Supreme Court by his predecessor, the late J Jayalalithaa, with the state government later impleading itself in the case.
"This livelihood issue of thousands of our fisherfolk needs your personal intervention. I request the Government of India to act decisively in the light of the sensitive nature of this issue. I also request you to secure the immediate release of 51 fishermen and 114 fishing boats, including the 29 fishermen and their five fishing boats apprehended on 21 December 2016 without any delay," he said in the letter to Modi.
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Updated Date: Dec 21, 2016 22:57:51 IST