In the backdrop of Indo-Sri Lankan fishermen-level talks ending in a stalemate, DMK Treasurer M K Stalin on Monday urged the Tamil Nadu government to exert pressure on the Centre to establish fishing rights of fishers from the state. In a statement in Chennai, Stalin, leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, said AIADMK government should not approach the livelihood issue of fishermen with a ‘ritualistic’ mindset and should “boldly exert the required pressure on the Centre to establish the fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen.”
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His statement comes against the backdrop of November 2 talks held in New Delhi between the fishermen leaders of Indo-Srilanka over the thorny issue of fishing rights during which the visiting delegation had rejected demands for relaxation of norms for Tamil Nadu’s fishing trawlers. Hitting out at state Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, who took part in the talks, Stalin accused him of not even making a reasonable demand seeking release of arrested fishermen and boats from Sri Lankan custody before the start of talks.
Also taking a swipe at the Centre, he said the dialogue under the auspices of the Union government was held “for the sake of it”. He said a situation continued to prevail wherein no decision aimed at protecting the interests or rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen could be taken in such parleys.
He urged the Centre to take “concrete action”, to get the arrested fishermen and seized boats released. Stalin also said the Sri Lankan government during such talks was “adamanat” and did not release the seized fishing boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen. Also, by not allowing fishermen to fish in their traditional fishing region in the Palk Strait, the island nation has wrecked the livelihood of the state’s fishermen, he charged.