Summon SL High Commissioner, Jaya tells PM

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Chennai, Feb 5: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has urged the Prime Minister to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to lodge a strong protest over the arrest of Indian fishermen and take action to secure release of 87 fishermen apprehended in the last one week.

"I exhort you to take immediate action to ensure that all the 19 fishing boats and 87 fishermen who were apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy in the last one week are released forthwith without prolonged detention," she said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday.

Jayalalithaa recalled her earlier letters dated Jan 30 and Feb 3 on two separate incidents of arrest of 57 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their 11 fishing boats by Sri Lanka.

"Even before the ink on the above two letters had dried, in yet another incident the marauding Sri Lankan Navy has apprehended 30 fishermen of Tamil Nadu who set out for fishing in 8 boats from Rameswaram and Mandapam North Fishing bases of in the early hours of February 4 and remanded them till February 13," she said in the letter which was released today.

Emphasising that a strong response was required from the Government of India on the issue, she said "There has to be an immediate, firm, diplomatic initiative, including intervention at the highest level."

These incidents had occurred close on the heels of the fishermen level talks in Chennai on January 27, she said.

"Failure to take immediate action will not only derail the initiatives taken to put in place a conducive working arrangement through the fishermen level talks, but would also be disastrous for the livelihood of the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu," she noted.


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