Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, in his first letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after assuming charge, has sought the release of 20 fishermen who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy early this week.
In his letter of September 30, he requested the Union Government to take “positive and concrete steps” to secure the immediate release of 20 fishermen and 75 boats, still in the custody of the Sri Lankan authorities.
Bringing to the Prime Minister’s attention two incidents of arrest of 20 fishermen (four on Sunday and 16 on Tuesday), the Chief Minister said “the traditional rights of fishermen from Tamil Nadu to fish in the waters of Palk Bay is continuously being infringed upon by the Sri Lankan Navy.”
Beginning his letter with a reference to the “untiring and relentless efforts” of Ms. Jayalailthaa in the latest release of 76 fishermen, Mr. Panneerselvam also mentioned that he appreciated the efforts of the Central Government under the leadership of Mr. Modi in securing the release of fishermen who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy.
“Unfortunately, 71 fishing boats of these fishermen have not yet been released by the Sri Lankan Government and are falling apart from disuse there itself,” the Chief Minister said, adding that the impending advent of northeast monsoon mandated the immediate release of the boats.
He reiterated the need to restore the traditional rights of the State’s fishermen by annulling the ill-advised Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 urgently. “I am confident that your Government will find suitable mechanisms to resolve this long pending fishing dispute between India and Sri Lanka by retrieving Katchatheevu and restoring the traditional fishing rights of our fishermen,” Mr. Panneerselvam added. (Source: The Hindu)