Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam (OPS) has swung into action, shooting off a letter to the prime minister in the style of his predecessor J. Jayalalithaa demanding that Katchateevu Island should be recovered from Sri Lanka.
The government led by Narendra Modi had taken the stand that the Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976, by which India gifted Katchateevu to the island nation, could not be annulled.
That clarification came when the Jayalalithaa government raised the demand that the treaties be annulled and fishermen from Tamil Nadu be allowed to access the island.
OPS, as the new chief minister is known, in his letter said: “The government of Tamil Nadu strongly reiterates the need to restore the traditional rights of our fishermen by annulling the ill-advised Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 urgently.”
He also urged Modi to take “positive and concrete steps” to secure the immediate release of 20 fishermen and 75 boats still in custody of the Sri Lankan authorities.
He repeated the arguments that Jayalalithaa has been offering: that the traditional rights of fishermen from Tamil Nadu to fish in the waters of Palk Bay was being continuously infringed upon by the Sri Lankan Navy.
He stressed that due to the “untiring and relentless efforts” taken by Jayalalithaa, 76 fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan jails were released by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday.
Of them, 72 were from Tamil Nadu.
OPS sought release of the 71 fishing boats of the fishermen still in Sri Lankan custody, and pointed out that the boats will become useless as monsoon is arriving.
Meanwhile, the ruling Anna DMK party pressed on with its protests against the jailing of Jayalalithaa.
There was widespread anger against the judiciary, and the opposition DMK that initiated the case against Jayalalithaa when it was in power.
Protesters demanded that Jayalalithaa, jailed in Bangalore, be freed immediately.
However, police said no violence was reported from any part of the state. (Source: Gulf Today)