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* Tamil Nadu CM asks Indian PM to use diplomatic channels to get fishermen released from Sri Lankan custody
Tue, Dec 31, 2013, 01:15 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 31, Colombo: The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state of India J. Jayalalithaa once again urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to use the diplomatic channels of the Indian government in a "concrete and decisive manner" with Sri Lankan authorities to secure the release of fishermen arrested by Sri Lanka.

In a letter to the PM, Jayalalithaa urged the Indian leader to intervene to secure the immediate release of 216 Indian fishermen, who are languishing in Sri Lankan Jails for prolonged periods, and the 40 fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in the last two days and the 81 fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody.

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.

The Chief Minister describing the arrests of invading Indian fishermen as "unethical, illegal and inhuman" said that during this month alone there have been six arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy.

"These repeated abductions and detentions have sent shock waves throughout the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu," the CM said.

Sri Lanka Navy said some of the Indian boats seized last two days were fitted with GPS equipment which confirmed that the Indian fishermen were deliberately fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

Reminding the PM that the Tamil Nadu government has already proposed making arrangements to hold the next round of talks between the Tamil Nadu fishermen and their Sri Lankan counterparts at Chennai on 20 January 2014, the Chief Minister said it is unfortunate that in a situation where the Tamil Nadu Government is taking a conciliatory approach and helping to facilitate fishermen level talks, the instances of attack on and abduction of the fishermen continue unabated.

She said the continuance of such attacks and abductions will not make for a congenial atmosphere for any meaningful talks even at the level of fishermen associations of the two countries.

The Chief Minister reiterated that the Indian Government must take a strong line and prevail upon the Sri Lankan Government to end such unprovoked attacks and arrests.

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