Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday, February 1, urged the Union government to find a permanent solution to the Indian fishermen issue involving Sri Lanka through 'tangible mechanisms' and secure the immediate release of 21 fishermen and their boats from the island nation's custody. "This is to bring a very disturbing incident to your notice," CM Stalin said writing to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
CM STalin informed the minister that 12 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on January 31 while they were fishing southeast of the Nagapattinam coast. They had left Nagapattinam on January 29 and were sailing in a mechanised fishing vessel. The apprehended fishermen were taken to the Kangesanthurai Naval base by Lankan authorities.
Another mechanised fishing boat (from Karaikal region of the union territory of Puducherry) with 6 fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu and 3 from Puducherry was also apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy, CM Stalin said. "I would like to bring to your notice that in the month of December, 2021, 68 Tamil Nadu fishermen were apprehended in three incidents by Sri Lankan Navy and were released recently after strenuous efforts taken by Tamil Nadu and Union government and are still awaiting repatriation. In this situation, the present incident of the arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy sends panic and shock among the fishermen community."
Prolonged incarceration of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan jails is causing them and their families back home untold misery and many of the families are being pushed into abject poverty in the absence of their sole breadwinners.
"I urge your personal intervention in this matter and request the Union of India to find tangible mechanisms to permanently resolve this long standing issue between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka. I also request you to take up the present matter with the Sri Lankan authorities urgently to secure the immediate release of 21 fishermen and their fishing boats from Sri Lankan custody," CM Stalin said in the letter to the External Affairs Minister.