The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic resources is hoping to secure the release of all Sri Lankan fishermen detained in Tamil Nadu prior to Christmas or in the beginning of January, Media Secretary D.S. Narendra Rajapaksa said today.
He said these efforts were being delayed because of the interference by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram.
Mr. Narendra Rajapakse told Daily Mirror that Sri Lankan fishermen and their boats taken into custody by Indian authorities were usually released within three weeks, but with Ms. Jayalalithaa interfering in this matter, the Tamil Nadu authorities had taken a court order to detain some 260 fishermen indefinitely.
He said the Sri Lankan Government had remitted Rs.400,000 to the Tamil Nadu Government to provide food and sanitary facilities to the detained fishermen but sadly this had still not been done.
However, Mr. Narendra Rajapakse said the Sri Lankan Government was spending a large amount of money to provide all necessary facilities to some 170 Indian fishermen under detention in Sri Lanka.
He said it was an act of injustice to deprive our fishermen, who were in Indian custody, of necessary facilities despite the Sri Lankan Government remitting so much of money to India.
The Fisheries Ministry said steps were being taken to meet the Indian authorities to resolve this crisis soon and it pointed out that India’s Central Government was also being embarrassed by the attitude adopted by Ms. Jayalalithaa on the fishermen’s issue. (Chaturanga Pradeep-DM Online)