Jayalalithaa writes to PM Modi, seeks “immediate release” of arrested fishermen

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking “immediate release” of 102 Tamil fishermen currently under Sri Lankan custody.

“I wish to draw your immediate and personal attention to the sixth instance of arrest and remand of innocent Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy within a span of a few weeks. In the last 20 days, there have been six separate incidents in which fishermen from Tamil Nadu have been arrested and continue to be in detention and their boats have been seized by the Sri Lankan Navy,” Jayalalithaa said in the letter.

“In the latest incident, which occurred on the night of October 12, 24 fishermen who set sail in four boats from Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram District were arrested and taken to Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka. As on date, 78 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and 38 boats of fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu are in Sri Lankan custody,” Jayalalithaa added.

“I had hoped that after the change of regime in Sri Lanka, there would be a positive change in the hostile environment created for fishermen from the coastal Districts of Tamil Nadu, while fishing in their traditional fishing waters, and the aggressive actions of the Sri Lankan Navy would cease.

Unfortunately, such incidents of apprehension of Tamil Nadu fishermen show no signs of abating and continue with painful regularity. Such incidents inflict huge misery and hardship on the fishermen community,” she added.

“Despite me taking up the issue repeatedly with you there has been no concrete action and our fishermen are suffering prolonged incarceration in Sri Lankan jails. You will agree that this is unacceptable situation which has to be remedied through a set of comprehensive measures including securing the urgent release of the fishermen in custody,” Jayalalithaa said.

“I do hope that through concerted action you would be able to secure the immediate release of our 78 fishermen and 38 fishing boats from Tamil Nadu currently in Sri Lankan custody including the 24 fishermen and 4 boats apprehended on 12.10.2015. We expect that concrete action on the long term solution to this issue will also be initiated forthwith,”she further said in the letter.