Rameswaram, Jul 13: Seven Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan navy, prompting Chief Minister K Palaniswami to dub the recurring mid-sea apprehensions a 'deliberate' bid to derail India's efforts to permanently resolve the vexed issue of fishing rights.
The fishermen from nearby Mandapam were fishing at Neduntheevu, close to Sri Lankan coast when they were arrested and taken to Kangesanthurai port there, Assistant Director of Fisheries Gopinath said. Two boats used by them too were impounded by the SL navy personnel, he said.
This is the third instance of arrest of state fishermen by the Lankan navy this month on charges of fishing in their territorial waters. Eight Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested on July 6 by the Lankan navy while three were arrested on July 9. Palaniswami shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to find a permanent solution to the recurring mid-sea arrests.
"Such continuing incidents of arrests of fishermen were a deliberate attempt by Sri Lanka to derail India's efforts to find a permanent solution to the vexed issue," he said in the letter. "A sense of vulnerability and insecurity prevails in the villages of the five coastal districts of Palk Bay in the state," he said.
"The state government reiterates the need to restore the traditional fishing rights of fishermen in Palk Bay by annulling the 1974 Indo-Sri Lankan agreement following which Katchatheevu was ceded to the island nation by India, he said.
Palaniswami also wanted Prime Minister Modi to take up the matter with Sri Lankan government to secure the immediate release of 60 fishermen and 146 fishing boats currently in the Sri Lankan's custody.