Jaya seeks PM’s intervention to free 41 TN fishermen in Lankan custody

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Government Friday sought the Centre’s intervention to secure the release of 41 fishermen from the state detained in Sri Lanka, saying their “continued incarceration” ahead of festive season was causing great frustration and despondency among their colleagues.

“The continued incarceration of our fishermen and impounding of their boats in Sri Lanka just as the festive season is beginning is causing great frustration and despondency amongst the fisherfolk of Tamil Nadu,” Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention for the release of 41 fishermen, including four arrested yesterday, besides 56 boats, she urged him to ‘urgently’ take up the issue with Lankan authorities at the appropriate level and ensure their immediate release along
with boats and fishing gear.

“The Government of India should act decisively in the light of the sensitive nature of this issue and initiate a calibrated set of actions to end the sufferings of our fishermen,” the letter said.

In the latest detentions, the four fishermen were arrested yesterday for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing near Nedunthevu islet off
Lankan coast.

Jayalalithaa recalled that the issue of IMBL itself is a “matter sub-judice” in the Supreme Court where she had challenged the validity of the Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 ceding Katchatheevu islet to the neighbouring country.

She also stated that her demand for a Comprehensive Special Package for Deep Sea fishing to the tune of Rs 1,520 crore raised with Modi twice, once in 2014 and the other in August this year, was still awaiting the Centre’s approval.