Dec 12, Chennai: The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa today fumed over the arrest of 140 Indian fishermen and seizure of their 23 boats by the Sri Lankan Navy in the last 24 hours.
In a letter to the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh, an angry Chief Minister wrote that the Prime Minister must personally take up this issue with the President of Sri Lanka without any further delay.
She demanded to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs and lodge a strong protest.
Sri Lanka Navy Wednesday arrested over 300 Indian fishermen for invading Sri Lanka's territorial waters for fishing and later released them after the intervention of officials detaining 110 along with their 15 trawlers.
The Navy arrested another 30 fishermen from Tamil Nadu this morning and seized their 8 trawlers.
Describing the arrests as mass abduction, the Chief Minister said these are the largest and most outrageous acts of mass abduction of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and it is done with the Sri Lankan government's "tacit" approval.
Jayalalithaa said the entire fishing community in Tamil Nadu has lost its faith in the ability of the Government of India and India's prestige and image has suffered grievous damage.
"The Government of India should not allow this issue to fester anymore through continued inaction or through a weak-kneed and timid approach towards the Sri Lankan regime which continues to perpetrate outrage upon outrage upon innocent Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu pursuing their livelihood," she wrote.
She told the PM that the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu is in a highly agitated mood and they expect quick and decisive action by the Indian Government to ensure that the 23 fishing boats and 140 fishermen apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the past 24 hours are released immediately without detention.
In a desperate attempt to deter the Indian fishermen crossing the Interactional Maritime Boundary Line and stealing the livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen, the government of Sri Lanka recently adopted a policy of detaining the Indian fishermen for lengthy terms and confiscating their trawlers.