Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, requesting the Union Government to secure the release of Tamil fishermen and their fishing boats detained by Sri Lanka.
“I want to bring to your attention a matter of grave concern that has been affecting the lives and livelihoods of Indian fishermen. It pertains to the arrest of 27 Indian fishermen in two separate instances and the seizure of four fishing boats,” Tamil Nadu CM wrote in his letter on October 16.
On October 14, as per the letter, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 23 fishermen from Rameshwaram and seized four boats for allegedly crossing the IMBL. In another Incident, a mechanized fishing boat carrying four fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy.
“As I have written to you earlier, these repeated instances of arrest and seizure have struck fear into the hearts of the fishing communities along our coastline. The livelihoods of these fishermen, who are often the sole breadwinners for their families, are at stake,” Stalin wrote.
“The economic implications of these recurrent arrests are profound, as they lead to not only the loss of Income for the fishermen and their families but also jeopardise the food security of countless individuals who depend on their catch,” he wrote, as he requested Jaishankar to take immediate diplomatic steps with the Sri Lankan government to secure those detained fisherfolk.
Earlier members of the Fishermen Association of Rameshwaram protested demanding the release of 27 fishermen and five boats allegedly captured by the Sri Lankan Navy.
“On October 14th, more than 400 fishermen from Rameswaram went to sea to catch fish. The Sri Lankan Navy took 27 Rameswaram fishermen along with five boats to Talaimannar port and Kankesanturai port, and handed them over to Talaimannar and Jaffna Maritime Inspectors for further legal action,” N.J. Bose, General Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Boat Fishermen’s Welfare Association said while speaking to media.
The protesting fishermen demanded the Government’s intervention for the immediate release of the fishermen.
Earlier, the Sri Lankan Navy had detained 17 fishermen and their three boats on September 13 for allegedly poaching in the territorial waters of the Island Nation. Following the State and Union Government intervention, they were released by the Sri Lanka Court on September 27. Later, the fishermen arrived in Chennai on October 14.
(with inputs from ANI)