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* Tamil Nadu CM seeks a strong diplomatic response on fishermen arrests by Sri Lanka Navy
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 12:42 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 05, Chennai: J. Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state has sought a "strong diplomatic response" from the Indian government to prevent the arrests of state's fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

In a third letter within a week to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the CM said even before the ink had dried on the two previous letters, the "marauding" Sri Lankan Navy has apprehended another 30 fishermen of Tamil Nadu who set out for fishing in 8 fishing boats and remanded them until February 13.

Sri Lanka Navy personnel arrested the 30 Indian fishermen and seized their eight trawlers when they were fishing in the seas off Delft on 03rd February.

"I have consistently maintained that the failure of the Government of India to come out strongly in defence of the rights and interests of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu has emboldened the Sri Lankan authorities to act with impunity against our fishermen," the Chief Minister said in her letter to PM.

She said the arrests happening after the fishermen level talks are further fuelling the tension among the fishermen communities to alarming levels.

Jayalalithaa said the continuing arrests of fishermen run contrary to the "spirit of goodwill" generated in the fishermen level talks to find a "pragmatic and workable solution" for the daily fishing activities of the fishermen.

"These continued detentions cast a shadow of doubt on the true intentions of the Sri Lankan authorities including the Sri Lankan Navy," she noted.

The Sri Lankan Navy says the Indian fishermen have entered Sri Lanka's waters defying the recent agreement reached between the fishermen associations of India and Sri Lanka not to invade each other's waters.

She said a strong response is required from the Indian government there has to be an immediate, firm, diplomatic initiative including intervention at the highest level.

She asked the PM to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs and lodge a strongest protest.

Failure to take immediate action will not only derail the initiatives taken to put in place a conducive working arrangement through the fishermen level talks but would also be disastrous for the livelihood of the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa warned.

The Chief Minister asked the PM to initiate necessary and immediate action to ensure the release of all 87 fishermen and the 19 fishing boats without prolonged detention.

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