Lankan Navy arrests 33 TN fishermen

Jaya asks Modi to intervene

Lankan Navy arrests 33 TN fishermen

Thirty-three Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan Navy in separate incidents while fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet in the Palk Strait, police and fisheries officials said on Sunday. 

The arrest comes days after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the release of all detained Indian fishermen in a goodwill gesture ahead of his visit to the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 26.

Sri Lankan Navy personnel arrested four fishermen of Rameswaram on Sunday morning after they got stranded near Katchatheevu when their boat developed a technical snag, 'Q' branch police inspector Kennedy and Pamban fishermen organisation functionary U Arulanandam said.The fishermen and the boat have been taken to Talaimannar.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal intervention to direct the Ministry of Exernal Affairs to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government for securing the release of 33 Indian fishermen.

"The meek and weak response of the erstwhile UPA government to the repeated instances of abduction of and attacks on our fishermen in their traditional waters has emboldened the Sri Lankan Navy to act brutally against our innocent fishermen.

 I hope that there will now be a decisive shift in the stance of the Government of India towards handling this issue under your leadership," Jayalalitha said in her letter to Modi.

Stating that the resumption of abductions and detentions has sent shock waves throughout the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha said "There was an expectation that, with the change of Government at the Centre, there would be a reset in the relations with Sri Lanka and such attacks and apprehensions would cease.”

 India must now take the necessary steps to find a lasting and permanent solution to this vexatious question, which has a highly emotive impact amongst the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu and grave security implications for our State, she added.

"I urge your personal intervention in the matter and request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities in a concrete and decisive manner so as to secure the immediate release of fishermen who were apprehended. 

We hope that the firmness of India’s response would ensure that such instances do not recur hereafter", Jayalalithaa said.

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