Accusing the Centre of showing “hopelessly inadequate response” to arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has said the island country’s “repressive” navy was “establishing its authoritarian presence in the Palk Bay by arresting innocent fishermen.”
This has caused angst and resentment among the people of Tamil Nadu, she told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a letter dated January 6, 2014, where she referred to the latest arrest of the state’s fishermen by the Lankan navy and sought his intervention to secure their release.
Ms. Jayalalithaa alleged that the Indian Government “has been a mute spectator all along and not at all willing to understand the sufferings of its own fishermen and their families and intervene effectively.”
The bread winners of poor fishermen families were kept under detention for months together and the only assets they possess to earn livelihood, their boats, were also being ruined there due to inaction of the Centre, she said.
Referring to last week’s arrest of 25 fishermen while “fishing in their traditional waters in Gulf of Mannar,” and 250 others languishing in Lankan jails, Ms. Jayalalithaa sought Dr. Singh’s immediate personal intervention and use diplomatic channels of the Government in a ‘concrete and decisive manner’ with Lankan authorities to secure their immediate release.