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* Tamil Nadu CM accuses Sri Lankan Navy of 'establishing authoritarian presence' in the Palk Bay
Tue, Jan 7, 2014, 01:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 07, Chennai: Criticizing the Indian government for being a "mute spectator" and not intervening to get the fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy released, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday accused the Sri Lankan Navy of "establishing authoritarian presence" in the Palk Bay by chasing away the fishermen.

In a letter to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister said Sri Lanka's "repressive Navy is establishing its authoritarian presence in the Palk Bay by chasing and arresting innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu who offer no provocation."

"I am at a loss for words to convey my deepest anguish and frustration over the repeated apprehension and incarceration of a large number of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan navy," she wrote to the Prime Minister.

The Chief Minister alleged that the Indian Government has been a "mute spectator" all along and not at all willing to understand the sufferings of its own fishermen and their families and intervene effectively.

Recalling the arrest of 25 fishermen last week and seizing five mechanized fishing boats belong to them, the Chief Minister urged the Indian Prime Minister to personally intervene and use the diplomatic channels to secure the release of those and another 250 fishermen languishing in Lankan jails.

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.

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