Oct 16, Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has once again has slammed the Indian government for its "dismissive attitude" towards the fishermen from Tamil Nadu and urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the fishermen issue with the Sri Lankan government in a "tangible and meaningful manner."
In a letter to the PM on Tuesday, the Chief Minister has brought the arrest of 37 fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy on October 14 to the Prime Minister's attention.
"Incidents of abduction and detention for long periods in prison have multiplied, even as the Government of India takes little or no action to convey India's strong protest or to use coercive diplomacy to put an end to these marauding attacks," the Chief Minister wrote.
Complaining that none of her letters to the PM got a substantive response, Jayalalithaa said this very serious livelihood problem of hundreds of thousands of Tamil Nadu fishermen is being treated as a "backyard squabble" and left to be sorted out by the fishermen associations of both countries.
"The continued insensitive and ham-handed treatment of the Tamil Nadu fishermen issue in the Palk Bay is fast alienating the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, who justifiably feel that they have been let down by their own national Government," the Chief Minister said.
She requested the Prime Minister to "impress upon the Sri Lankan Government in the strongest possible manner to discontinue their military action against our unarmed poor fishermen."
India's External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid during his visit to the island earlier this month discussed the fishermen issue with his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris and agreed on the need to deal with it in a humane manner without resorting to violence under any circumstances.
The two sides agreed to encourage fishermen's associations on both sides, which had met in the past and reached some understandings, to meet again to work on resolving the issue.