Reiterating that the consistent policy of her Government was to restore the fishing rights of the Indian fishermen in their traditional fishing areas in the Palk Bay waters where they have been traditionally fishing from time immemorial, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Ms. Jayalalithaa today requested the Prime Minister to kindly take up the issue of continuing attacks on Tamil Nadu Fishermen - with the Sri Lankan Government and its President urgently, and ensure that no such brutal incidents occured in mid-sea again.
In a letter to the Prime Minister today, Ms. Jayalalithaa brought to his attention, yet another incident of harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan fishermen that occurred on 14th of this month. Four fishermen of Rameswaram ventured into the sea for fishing in a mechanized fishing boat from Rameswaram fishing base on 14th of this month in their traditional fishing areas of the Palk Bay waters, Ms. Jayalalithaa pointed out. Some Sri Lankan miscreants hurled petrol bombs on their boat. As a result, the boat of the Tamil Nadu fishermen sank in the sea. The four fishermen were rescued by another boat, fishing in the nearby vicinity, and brought to shore on the 15 morning, she recalled.
In this context, Ms. Jayalalithaa said she wished to inform the Prime Minister that the incidents of harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen continued unabated despite the assurances given by the Government of Sri Lanka, that Tamil Nadu fishermen would not be harassed. Many a time, Tamil Nadu fishermen who were harassed by
Sri Lankan Navy/miscreants, did not even come forward to lodge a complaint, fearing a backlash from the Sri Lankan Navy, she added.
The continued occurrence of the incidents of harassment also proved that the Government of Sri Lanka had not taken serious measures to curb the incidents of violence against Tamil Nadu fishermen, she said. Sri Lankan miscreants watching the Indian fishermen being blatantly harassed by the Sri Lankan Naval personnel, get emboldened to attack
Tamil Nadu fishermen as was done on the 14th, Ms. Jayalalithaa said. These recurring attacks confirm her earlier statement that the Sri Lankan Government was adopting double standards with regard to fishermen's issues, the Chief Minister added.
Ms. Jayalalithaa said she was also deeply pained to point out that the issue of attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen was not being treated as a National issue. No serious action was initiated whenever such attacks occur. It would not be out of context to further mention that in the recent 4th Joint Working Group Meeting held at Colombo, on 13-14th January 2012, it was reiterated that the highest priority was being accorded to the well being, safety and security of fishermen by both the countries, and it was agreed that use of force could not be justified under any circumstances. The assurances given remain only on paper and were not being honoured by the Sri Lankan Government, she told the Prime Minister. The recent incident of attack proves that all the discussions aimed at ensuring the safety of Indian fishermen while fishing was an exercise in futility.
Ms. Jayalalithaa reiterated that the consistent policy of her Government was to restore the fishing rights of the Indian fishermen in their traditional fishing areas in the Palk Bay waters where they have been traditionally fishing from time immemorial. She , therefore, requested the Prime Minister to kindly take up the issue with the Sri Lankan Government and its President urgently, and ensure that no such brutal incidents occur in mid-sea again.