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MK Stalin writes to PM Modi over fishermen’ issue, says attacks on them on Sri Lankan waters rising

  • February 10, 2024

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern about the rising number of attacks on fishermen from the state by unidentified persons. Stalin sought the Prime Minister to intervene and secure the release of fishermen arrested by Sri Lanka for allegedly trespassing in its waters.

In a letter, Stalin said 88 Indian fishermen were arrested, and 12 boats were seized by Sri Lankan authorities in the past 28 days.

“I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the alarming increase in incidents of apprehension of Tamil fishermen and their boats by the Sri Lankan authorities. This issue severely impacts the right to livelihood of these fishermen as the communities have utilised these fishing waters for generations,” he said.

He said there has been a significant rise in the number of arrests of fishermen from Tamil Nadu by Sri Lankan authorities in the past few years, except for the period when the Covid-19 pandemic occurred.

“During 2023, the Sri Lankan navy arrested 243 fishermen and seized 37 boats. However, in the past 28 days, 88 fishermen and 12 boats were apprehended in six incidents. Furthermore, I want to draw your attention to the increasing instances of attacks on Tamil fishermen and damages inflicted on their boats and equipment in the seas by unidentified persons, as this has added a new layer of concern to an already precarious situation,” Stalin said.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister stated he had previously raised with PM Modi the issue of the amendment made to the Fisheries Act by Sri Lanka in 2018, which enabled the island nation’s government to nationalise foreign fishing vessels.

“Due to this action of Sri Lanka, the seized fishing boats of our fishermen that are in good condition cannot be salvaged and brought back to Tamil Nadu. Many fishermen have invested their life savings in acquiring and maintaining their boats, which are vital for their trade,” Stalin wrote in the letter.

“The nationalisation of these boats without proper compensation or alternative arrangements pushes the fishermen and their families into financial distress,” he said.

Stalin, in his letter to PM Modi, urged the Sri Lankan government to withdraw the nationalisation of apprehended Indian fishing boats and to release them immediately. “I request your urgent attention to address this issue to seek a diplomatic resolution to ensure the safety and well-being of Tamil fishermen,” he said.

Calling for a joint working group to resolve the issue, Stalin urged PM Modi to ensure the release of 77 fishermen and their 151 boats from Sri Lanka.

Published By:

Prateek Chakraborty

Published On:

Feb 10, 2024

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