June 24, Chennai: In a second letter within a week, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has urged the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take immediate action through diplomatic channels at the highest level secure the release of all the Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for poaching in the island's territorial waters.
Reporting to the PM with "deep sense of anguish" the arrest of another 11 Indian fishermen with 3 boats by the Navy yesterday, the Chief Minister assured that Tamil Nadu would work towards creating an atmosphere conducive for bilateral talks between the fishermen associations of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka to ensure that day to day issues are sorted out.
The CM pointed out that the "vexatious issue requires a concerted and sustained diplomatic effort to ensure that a permanent solution is delivered."
Meanwhile, she asked the government of India to "impress upon" the Sri Lankan government to abstain from attacks on and "abduction" of the fishermen on the high seas in the Palk Bay.
She asked the central government to effectively activate the joint mechanisms which are designed to ensure the speedy release of apprehended fishermen.
The CM expressed hope that the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu, working in tandem, can find a lasting solution to the long-standing issue of the safety, security and livelihood of the state's fishermen in the Palk Bay.
However, Jayalalithaa reiterated that a permanent solution to the issue lies only in the retrieval of Katchatheevu islet, to which India has a strong legal and historical claim.
She said the unconstitutional Indo-Sri Lankan Agreements of 1974 and 1976 should be nullified and the traditional rights of the Tamil Nadu fishermen to fish in the Palk Bay should be restored.
The Chief Minister refuses to accept India's Supreme Court's 1974 decision to cede the disputed islet to Sri Lanka.