The much-awaited fishermen-level talks between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka will be held on January 27 in Chennai and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has set a five-point agenda for the talks.
The talks will be held at the office of the Director of Fisheries in Teynampet at 10 am. Originally, the talks were scheduled for January 20 but were postponed following a request from Sri Lanka.
The Tamil Nadu government has already conveyed to the Centre that the talks should be held without prejudice to, and must not in any way, compromise the stand already taken by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in her petition W.P (Civil) No. 561/2008, filed in the Supreme Court, on India’s territorial sovereignty over Katchatheevu. Further, the resolution to be passed in the talks would be subject to the clearance of the State government, an official release said.
Ahead of the talks, following the consistent efforts of the Chief Minister, so far, 317 Indian fishermen and their 45 boats have been released by Lanka. Of the 317, 295 were from Tamil Nadu and 22 from Karaikal. The Tamil Nadu government has also been mutually releasing Lankan fishermen and their boats.
The agenda for the talks include: (a) Reiterating the traditional fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen to fish in their fishing waters of Palk Bay irrespective of any artificially drawn boundaries with mutual harmony on either side; (b) reiterating the commitment made in previous discussions to abjure from violent attacks on TN fishermen on the high seas by the Lankan Navy and desisting from unfriendly acts like abduction, detention, long periods of incarceration of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Lankan jails and preventing the seizure, confiscation of their boats/fishing equipment by Lankan authorities; (c) discussing ways to speedily facilitate the repatriation of fishermen and their boats abducted by the Lankan Navy; (d) suggesting ways for fishing on convenient and agreeable terms for both sides; (e) exchanging information such as distress incidents and environment friendly fishing operations to ensure sustainable and viable exploitation of fish and fishery resources in Palk Bay.(Indian Express)