TN CM urges PM Modi to secure the release of 14 fishermen
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to secure the release of 14 fishermen who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and their three seized boats.
Expressing anguish, she said three mechanised fishing boats with 14 fishermen on board were apprehended yesterday by the Sri Lankan Navy and taken to Talaimannar. After a 45-day ban on fishing, imposed to enable fish breeding, the 14 fishermen had ventured into the sea from the Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district.
"I urge your immediate personal intervention in this issue and request you to direct the External Affairs Ministry to take up the matter with Sri Lankan authorities to secure the immediate release of the 14 fishermen and their three fishing boats along with 18 (other) fishing boats already in Sri Lankan custody," she said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Out of the 80 boats impounded since June 2014, 16 boats were ruined beyond recovery and could not be salvaged, she said.
Recalling her government encouraging bilateral fishermen level talks to find a permanent solution to the issue, she said it is unfortunate that despite the state government "Taking a positive approach and helping to facilitate bilateral level talks, the abduction of innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu continues unabated." A permanent solution to this problem must be found by through a decisive initiative by the Centre, she said.
"A time-bound action plan alongside a strong and robust diplomatic thrust must be put in place to achieve a long-term, permanent solution to this vexatious problem which is affecting the livelihood of lakhs of our fishermen from Tamil Nadu."