Expressing concern over repeated incidents of fishermen from the State being captured by the Sri Lankan Navy, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention to secure their release and safeguard the traditional fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
This second letter in four days seeks the release of seven fishermen of Nagapattinam who were taken prisoners by the Sri Lankan Navy on October 1 and taken to Kankesanthurai. On September 30, she wrote to Mr. Modi seeking his intervention through diplomatic channels to release seven fishermen from Tuticorin district.
“I am constrained to write to you yet again,” she said, adding “this latest belligerent act of the Sri Lankan Navy perpetrated on innocent and unarmed Indian fishermen adds to the immense frustration that has built up among the fishermen community of Tamil Nadu.”
Ms. Jayalalithaa said the repeated incidents of capture of innocent fishermen were being done with a motive to intimidate and prevent them from venturing into their traditional fishing waters in the Palk Bay which has always been a part of the traditional fishing area of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
“My Government strongly believes that the unconstitutional Indo-Sri Lankan Agreements of 1974 and 1976 should be nullified and the traditional rights of our fishermen restored at the earliest,” she said.
Reiterating that the Government of India should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question, as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements have been challenged in the Supreme Court, she said the main prayer before the Supreme Court is to declare the 1974 and 1976 agreements as null and void in the absence of the required mandatory Constitutional amendment, and to retrieve Katchatheevu for India.
The Chief Minister urged Mr. Modi to initiate immediate action through diplomatic channels to secure the release of seven fishermen from Nagapattinam and their boat as well as that of the 28 fishermen and 31 fishing boats which are still in Sri Lankan custody and arrange for their immediate repatriation.