Raising the issue of the continuing arrests of fishermen from the state by the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a “strong diplomatic stand” to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
In a letter to Modi, he referred to Sunday’s arrest of five fishermen from Mandapam, near Rameswaram, and seizure of their mechanised boat and said such repeated detentions created an “unrest among the fishermen community”.
Palaniswami recalled that late chief minister J Jayalalithaa had written to Modi multiple times over the repeated instances of abduction and apprehension of innocent fishermen from the state. He requested the prime minister to “undertake a strong diplomatic” stand, so as to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
The chief minister said his government reaffirmed its commitment to find a pragmatic working solution to the issue and added that it had initiated several measures with the Centre’s support. This necessitated an “urgent intervention from the highest level of the Sri Lankan administration”, he said.
Palaniswami requested Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry to secure the immediate release of 16 fishermen, including the five arrested yesterday, besides setting free 136 fishing boats “without any delay”. This is the second letter written by him to Modi on the issue in the last one week.
On June 13, the chief minister had sought the prime minister’s intervention in getting back 135 fishing boats, impounded by Sri Lanka over a period of time, saying the fishermen had been deprived of their livelihood. He had also sought steps for the release of the detained fishermen.