Feb 15, Colombo: Chief Minister of India's Tamil Nadu State, J. Jayalalithaa today accused the Sri Lanka Navy of increasing hostile actions after the recent fishermen level talks hosted in Chennai between the fishermen of the two countries to resolve the continuing territorial dispute.
The Chief Minister in a letter to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it is "extremely disheartening" that the Sri Lankan Navy is now acting with "greater impunity" to effectively prevent Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu fishing in the disputed waters in the Palk Bay.
Referring to the recent arrest of 29 fishermen from Ramanathapuram and Pudukkottai Districts of Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lanka Navy, the Chief Minister said the Navy is "effectively thwarting" Indian fishermen coming from the Coastal Districts of Tamil Nadu from peacefully pursuing their livelihood in their traditional fishing waters.
Following the discussions between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen last month a 30-day truce period commenced on February 10 to refrain from fishing in each other's waters. The Indian fishermen agreed to halt the bottom trawling method in Sri Lankan waters during this period.
Sri Lanka Navy Thursday arrested the 29 fishermen in the seas off Delft Island in Jaffna peninsula for allegedly engaged in poaching despite the truce.
"Every fishing voyage of our fishermen is now laden with danger and the anxiety of possible attack, harassment, apprehension and custodial detention by the Sri Lankan authorities," Jayalalithaa wrote.
The Chief Minister slammed the Indian government for not taking strong diplomatic action to curb such repeated instances of attack, apprehension and unlawful detention of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
"The Government of India is yet again treating the livelihood issue of lakhs of fishermen of Tamil Nadu with inexplicable insensitivity," she said.
The Chief Minister urged the Prime Minister to "intervene personally" and ensure that the matter is taken up at the highest diplomatic level for the immediate release of the 121 Tamil Nadu fishermen and their 26 fishing boats.