Secure fishermen’s release from Sri Lanka: Jayalalithaa

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Chennai, Feb 15 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to secure the release of 121 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan jails.

Jayalalithaa wrote the letter Feb 14 and the text was released here Saturday.

The chief minister while citing the arrest of 29 Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka Thursday, said: “I once again urge you to intervene personally and ensure the matter is taken up at the highest diplomatic level for the immediate release of the 121 fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu and their 26 fishing boats.”

She said the Sri Lankan Navy is effectively thwarting Indian fishermen from the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu from pursuing their livelihood in the waters of the Palk Bay.

Jayalalithaa said the transfer of Katchateevu, an islet in the Park Strait to Sri Lanka by agreements in 1974 and 1976 “…have not only snatched away the livelihood of our fishermen but also the sovereign territory of India – Katchatheevu.”

The chief minister said the Indian government is treating the livelihood issue of lakhs of fishermen of Tamil Nadu with inexplicable insensitivity.

“Strong diplomatic action is not being taken by the government of India to curb such repeated instances of attack, apprehension and unlawful detention of our fishermen,” Jayalalithaa said.

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