July 29, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has written to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi again to take immediate action through highest diplomatic levels to secure the release of all the Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for poaching in the island's territorial waters.
Writing to the PM with "deep sense of anguish" on the arrest of another 50 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy yesterday, the CM said the Government of India should also not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question.
She wrote that the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements that ceded the Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka and set up the IMBL have been challenged on "extremely valid and legal grounds" by the CM in her personal capacity and also by the Tamil Nadu Government in the Supreme Court of India.
"The Government of Tamil Nadu reiterates its firm commitment to the restoration of the traditional fishing rights of our fishermen in the Palk Bay and the retrieval of Katchatheevu which had been an integral part of India since time immemorial," Jayalalithaa wrote.
The Chief Minister, while noting that the central governemnt had acted promptly on earlier occasions to get 225 apprehended fishermen released from Sri Lankan custody from time to time, stressed that the Sri Lankan side "as part of a deliberate and callous design," has not yet released the 55 boats and fishing gear impounded from Tamil Nadu fishermen apprehended earlier.
The CM requested the Prime Minister to "impress upon the Sri Lankan Government that they should abandon their inhuman strategy of impounding the boats and fishing gear for extended periods of time" and to "take decisive steps to ensure the immediate release" of the boats and fishing gear of the fishermen which are still in Sri Lankan custody.
She urged the PM to take steps to secure the immediate release of all the 93 fishermen from Tamil Nadu including the 43 fishermen apprehended earlier and the 62 boats, including the 55 boats impounded earlier, from Sri Lankan custody.