Vaiko seeks PM's help to free Indian fishermen

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Chennai, June 9 (UNI) Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) General Secretary Vaiko today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to put an end to the Sri Lankan Navy's atrocities on Indian fishermen and ensure the early release of 23 fishermen taken by the Navy on May 26.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which was released to the media here, he said fishermen from Tamil Nadu feel insecure due to the ''apathy and inaction'' of the Government on this issue, concerning their life and livelihood.

During his visit to Pamban on June seven, various associations of country boat fishermen had narrated their woes and the torture meted out to them by the Lankan Navy, while fishing in the country's terrotorial waters.

They had told him that the whereabouts of 23 fishermen taken by the Sri Lankan Navy on May 26 were not known so far, he said and requested the Prime Minister to ensure the safe release of the fishermen along with their boats.

Haunted by the past inhuman treatment by the Lankan Navy, the family members of these fishermen and the entire fishing community in the area were in great anxiety about the welfare and well-being of the fishermen under their custody.

Nineteen fishermen taken by the Lankan Navy on May nine were released not before they were tortured and denied food and clothing, Mr Vaiko said.

''It is high time that the Centre woke up from its slumber on this burning issue to take action urgently to instil confidence among the peace-loving and non-violent fishing community to pursue their fishing activities peacefully,'' he said.

UNI WS GD AKJ KN1723

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