Jan 11, Chennai: The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in India has directed the state officials to release the Sri Lankan fishermen detained in the state's jails as a gesture to create a favorable atmosphere for the upcoming talks between the fishermen of the two countries.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today has directed the release of 179 Sri Lankan fishermen jailed in the state while expecting the Sri Lankan authorities to do the same with the Indian fishermen in the island's jails by January 13.
The Chief Minister has said in a statement has said the central Indian government has assured that Sri Lanka would take steps from January 13 onwards to release Indian fishermen jailed in Sri Lanka and asked the state government to reciprocate the action.
The fishermen's representatives of the two sides are scheduled to meet on January 20 to iron out a solution to the nagging problem of fishermen from both countries invading into each other's territories.
The Indian government was subsequently making arrangements for the meeting now, and the meeting could be held in Chennai, Jayalalithaa said.
"I have directed the authorities to take steps for the release of the Sri Lankan fishermen. Based on this, 275 Tamil Nadu fishermen will be released in a day or two. In this favourable situation, talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka will be held in Chennai on January 20," the Chief Minister said.
However, she has emphasized that she would seek traditional fishing rights in the disputed region.
"My government will as usual work towards ensuring the traditional rights of fishermen," she said.
According to fishermen's associations, India has detained 210 Sri Lankan fishermen and their 43 boats last year between August 21 and December 27last year. Out of them, 179 jailed in Puzhal prison in Chennai will be released under the Chief Minister's orders.
Sri Lanka has detained 320 Tamil Nadu fishermen and their 98 boats between October 17 and December 4, last year.