June 21, Colombo: The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State of India, Jeyaram Jayalalitha today urged the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to secure the early release of the 23 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The Sri Lankan Navy on Monday night arrested the 23 fishermen from Rameswaram and Mandapam when they were fishing in Sri Lankan waters illegally of the Thalaimannar coast. Five boats belonging to the Indian fishermen have also been seized by the authorities.
The fishermen have been produced in the court today and the magistrate has remanded them until July 01.
The Chief Minister has written to the PM and sought the immediate release of the fishermen saying that she was deeply distressed that Sri Lanka had again detained the fishermen and their boats.
“I seek your kind intervention and request you to ensure that the Sri Lankan government releases the 23 fishermen immediately,” she has written in her letter to PM.
Jayalalitha has said the frequent incidents of arrest and detention of Tamil Nadu fishermen crossing International Maritime Boundary Line which is very close to the shore off Rameswaram in Palk Bay area, is worrisome.
“This also creates a lot of tension and unrest among fishermen in Tamil Nadu,” she has written.
The newly elected Chief Minister, who soon after her election to the Tamil Nadu called the Indian government to impose economic sanctions on Sri Lanka and bring war crime charges against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said she has discussed the fishermen issue with National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon on two occasions before.
The Indian Consulate General in Jaffna meanwhile has made contact with the detained fishermen, and had assured them that Indian authorities would work out modalities of a release, Indian daily The Hindu reported today.
Indian authorities constantly arrest the Sri Lankan fishermen venturing into their waters and are currently holding 78 Sri Lankan fishermen and 16 boats, Sri Lankan officials say.