Rameswaram: Various fishermen’s associations from different parts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry, who met here, have planned to launch a “major, prolonged” agitation to press the Central and State governments to take steps to get all the fishermen arrested in recent months released by the Sri Lankan authorities and also their boats.
The Tamil Nadu mechanised boats fishermen’s welfare association general secretary, N J Bose said here on Tuesday that besides 24 Rameswaram fishermen, who were apprehended on Monday by the Sri Lankan Navy, ostensibly for crossing the international maritime boundary line while fishing near Katchatheevu along with their four boats, 54 other fishermen from other districts of Tamil Nadu, including Pudukkottai, arrested by the Island-Navy personnel in recent weeks should also be released.
Representatives of the major fishermen’s associations who met here also demanded that 48 boats of Indian fishermen (all from Tamil Nadu) which have been seized by the Sri Lankan security forces should also be returned herewith, besides compensation paid to the kin of the missing fisherman Vilvaraj from Rameswaram.
Unless the Central and State governments acted swiftly to redress the fishermen’s issues, a massive agitation by the fisher-folks of both Tamil Nadu and Puducherry would ensue, they warned.
Jayalalithaa writes to PM on fishermen arrest
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi decrying the lack of action by the Centre over the continuing arrests of Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy.
Pointing out the sixth arrest incident in 20 days, Jayalalithaa said that 78 fishermen and 38 boats are languishing in the custody of the island country’s navy, as on date. “I had hoped that after the change of regime in Sri Lanka there would be a positive change in the hostile environment created for fishermen and the aggressive actions of the Sri Lankan Navy would cease,” she said in the letter.
“Unfortunately, such incidents of apprehension of Tamil Nadu fishermen show no signs of abating and continue with painful regularity. Despite my taking up the issue repeatedly with you there has been no concrete action and our fishermen are suffering prolonged incarceration in Sri Lankan jails,” Jayalalithaa wrote, and demanded the Centre’s intervention in immediately securing the release of the fishermen.
“The issue of harassment and frequent arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen is an abrogation of their traditional fishing rights in their traditional fishing areas. This is a livelihood issue of thousands of our fisher folk and is taking on a huge social and political dimension,” the letter said.
“India cannot continue to be seen as a mute spectator as the rights of Indian fishermen are repeatedly infringed upon. The issue thus requires urgent intervention not merely at a diplomatic level but also at the highest political level. In the present circumstances, I have no doubt that you would agree that the fishermen issue needs to be placed at the top of the agenda in any interaction with Sri Lanka.”...
Location: Tamil Nadu