New Delhi, Mar 14: At a time when Italy has cocked a snook at India by refusing to send back a couple of its marines who killed two fishermen off the Kerala coast in Dec 2012, it has emerged that Sri Lanka has been arresting Tamil Nadu fishermen quite often.
DMK member TKS Elangovan told the Lok Sabha that 19 fishermen from Rameshwaram district of TN were taken into custody by the Lankan Navy on Wednesday. He said that Indian fishing trawlers are captured and their occupants harassed almost on a daily basis.
Elangovan pointed out that the fishermen sometimes venture beyond Indian waters in their search for fish but it is mainly because they are ignorant of the international maritime boundary.
He stressed that the poor fishermen are only interested in a good catch. Citing the suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, the DMK leader noted that the UPA government has failed to protect both ordinary citizens as well as jawans.
Former union law minister M Thambi Durai (AIADMK) said that fishermen hailing from Tamil Nadu are arrested as soon as they unwittingly enter Lankan waters. It is noteworthy that earlier this month the Lankan Navy charged 16 fishermen with tresspass. They spent as many as nine days in detention.
Thambi Durai urged the Centre to put pressure on the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and stop such harassment of TN fishermen.
Incidentally, both the aforementioned MPs were intervening in a discussion on Wednesday's terror attack in which five CRPF personnel succumbed to bullet injuries. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj slammed Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for not being present while the Lower House was paying tributes to the martyrs.
"Is it that senior ministers are not concerned about terrorism?" the BJP leader asked. She referred to reports of intelligence agencies providing inputs about the plan of terrorists to target soldiers deployed in Srinagar, and demanded to know why no steps were taken to save the jawans.