Chennai: A day after 14 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by Sri Lankan Navy, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take immediate action to secure their release.
In a letter to Modi, she also sought steps for facilitating the return of four fishermen who had drifted to the island nation on November 8 and 50 boats in Lankan custody.
She said she had written to him over “repeated instances of abduction and apprehension” of innocent fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The 14 fishermen with their three mechanised boats were apprehended in the late hours of November 18, the Chief Minister said.
“I request you to take immediate action through diplomatic channels to secure the release of the 14 Indian fishermen and 50 (total, including those impounded previously) fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody,” she said.
They had put out to sea from Rameswaram and were taken to Kankesanthurai by the Lankan authorities.
Referring to the four other fishermen, she said their motorised boat developed engine failure and they drifted and got stranded in Sri Lankan shores. “They are yet to be sent back to India.”
Already, 47 fishing boats and fishing gear were still held by Sri Lankan authorities in their custody, she noted.
“The impounded boats that are perilously berthed, face the imminent threat of irreparable damage due to long periods of disuse and the onset of the monsoon,” she said.
Jayalalithaa also said the Rs 1,520 crore Comprehensive Special Package for deep sea fishing and a recurring grant of Rs 10 crores per annum was still pending with the Centre.
She had requested for the package in memoranda presented to Modi last year and in August this year when he met her here. “This livelihood issue of thousands of our fisherfolk needs your personal intervention,” she said.