Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to help the eight fishermen from Thoothukudi district, who were arrested on August 21 for allegedly fishing in Sri Lankan waters.
CM Palaniswami has called for the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the issue and to voice strong protest on the same. He has called for the release of the eight men arrested as well as eight others who have been detained previously on similar grounds, according to reports.
The fishermen were arrested and convicted by a Sri Lankan court under the Provision of Fisheries Act (Regulation of Foreign Fishing Boats) for allegedly illegally fishing in Lankan territory and had fined them around Rs 26 lakh per head for the same.
â€śThe latest move by Sri Lanka at this crucial juncture when the Tamil Nadu government, along with the Union government, has taken proactive steps for transition towards a permanent solution, is nothing but a mockery of the diplomatic efforts being undertaken to sort out the sensitive issue. This has created a sense of panic in the minds of fishermen of Tamil Nadu,â€ť Palaniswami stated in the letter.
Other political leaders in the state including BJPâ€™s Tamilisai Soundarajan and PMKâ€™s S Ramadoss too voiced their opposition to the arrests.
Tamilisai has sought the help of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Ramadoss has condemned the arrests and has sought that the fines against the fishermen be dropped. He stated that the Indian government should issue a warning to Sri Lankan authorities and should take the necessary steps to release the fishermen.
MDMK general secretary Vaiko and TNCC president S Thirunavukkarasar too have been outspoken about their indignation over the arrest of the men and have also urged the Centre to take appropriate action at once.