Mar 14, Chennai: The Chief Minister of India's Tamil Nadu State, J. Jayalalithaa today told the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Sri Lanka's increasing 'belligerence' towards Indian fishermen is a worrisome trend and asked him not to 'embolden' Sri Lanka with his silence.
Referring to the arrest of 53 Tamil Nadu fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters by the Sri Lankan Navy last two days, the CM in a letter to the Prime Minister said the arrest is another instance of intolerance of the Sri Lankan Navy towards the 'hapless' Indian fishermen.
An agitated Chief Minister asked the Prime Minister to call the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi and lodge the Government of India's strong protest against the continuing arrests and incidents of violence against the Tamil Nadu fishermen.
Conveying her strong disapproval of the high handed attitude of Sri Lanka and seeking the PM's urgent intervention, the Tamil Nadu CM asked the Prime Minister to advise the Sri Lankan Government to release the arrested fishermen without imposing any criminal charges and desist from "future provocations through needless arrests and acts of violence."
"The increasing belligerence of Sri Lanka in the recent past towards the Indian fishing boats fishing in their traditional fishing areas, as exhibited by a spurt of arrests and violence, is a worrisome trend," the Chief Minister said in her letter.
Sri Lanka Navy last two days arrested 53 Indian fishermen from Rameshwaram and seized their 9 boats when they were fishing near Sri Lanka's Katchatheevu Island. The fishermen have been handed over to Thalaimannar and Delft island police for further actions.
"This incident of apprehension is another instance of the increasing intolerance of the Sri Lankan Navy towards the hapless fishermen of the Palk Bay area of Tamil Nadu who have no other alternative but to fish in the narrow Palk Bay fishing grounds that are further restricted by the unilateral drawl of the International Maritime Boundary Line, drawn without the consent of the Government of Tamil Nadu or its fishermen," Jayalalithaa wrote.
She reminded the Prime Minister that he has agreed with her that solutions to the fishing disputes between two countries are not resolved by force or by arresting the fishermen.
She said her Tamil Nadu government of has challenged the issue of unilateral drawl of the IMBL leading to the ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka before the Indian Supreme Court.
The Tamil Nadu is agitated by the repeated arrest of the fishermen, she said, asking the Indian government to respond and react pro-actively when incidents of this nature happen.
"Let Sri Lanka not be emboldened by your silence and construe it as a sign of weakness and indifference towards our fishermen," the Chief Minister asked the PM.