Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha has cautioned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to let the fishermen issue to fester any further for it is a livelihood issue for Tamil fishermen and can cause friction between India and Sri Lanka.
She made this observation in a letter she wrote to Prime Minister Modi over the arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy recently. In her letter, she states:
“It is unfortunate that, in yet another incident, 14 fishermen who set sail from the Rameswaram and Mandapam fishing bases in Ramanathapuram district on three boats were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy in the late hours of November 18. They have been taken to Kankesanthurai, Sri Lanka.
Four fishermen on a motorised country boat who drifted and got stranded on the Sri Lankan shores due to engine failure were yet to be sent back to India.
Already 47 fishing boats along with fishing gear, which are essential for fishermen to earn their livelihood, are still in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities and have not yet been released. The impounded boats that are perilously berthed face the imminent threat of damage due to long periods of disuse and the onset of the monsoon.
The livelihood issue of thousands of our fishermen needs your personal intervention. The central government should not allow this issue to fester further. I request you to take immediate action through diplomatic channels to secure the release of the 14 Indian fishermen and 50 fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody as well as to ensure the early return of the four fishermen.”