June 30, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. J. Jayalalithaa reiterating her stance on Sri Lanka's Katchatheevu islet said the Sri Lankan Navy should not be allowed to disrupt the livelihoods of the Indian fishermen engaged in fishing activities in the seas around the disputed islet.
In a letter to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Ministers reiterated that the Government of India should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the ownership of Katchatheevu islet and the 1974 and 1976 agreements that ceded the islet to Sri Lanka are being challenged in the Indian Supreme Court.
Referring to the recent arrest of 17 Tamil Nadu fishermen from Rameshwaram by the Sri Lankan Navy for poaching in Sri Lankan waters, Jayalalithaa said the continued and repeated instances of "apprehension and abduction" are adding to the "heightened sense of unrest and resentment" among the Tamil Nadu fishermen.
The Chief Minister urged the Prime Minister to take up the arrests at the highest levels of the Sri Lankan Government and secure the immediate release of all the 28 Indian fishermen along with their 41 fishing boats, including the 11 fishermen and 38 boats already in Sri Lankan custody.
Sri Lanka recently released 46 Indian fishermen arrested by the Navy but according to a recently adopted policy did not release their trawlers or the fishing equipment.
The arrests and confiscation of their boats and fishing gear had not deterred the Tamil Nadu fishermen from poaching in Sri Lankan waters affecting the livelihood of the Sri Lankan fishermen.