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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Urges Indian PM Modi to Intervene in Rising Attacks on Fishermen by Sri Lanka

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing deep concern about the escalating number of attacks on fishermen from the state by unidentified individuals. Stalin has appealed to Prime Minister Modi to intervene urgently and secure the release of fishermen arrested by Sri Lanka for allegedly trespassing in its waters.

In the letter, Stalin highlighted that in the past 28 days, Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 88 Indian fishermen and seized 12 boats. He emphasized the adverse impact on the livelihoods of these fishermen and their communities, who have traditionally utilized these fishing waters for generations.

Stalin noted a significant increase in the number of arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan authorities in recent years, except during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2023 alone, 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.

The Chief Minister raised a new layer of concern, pointing out instances of attacks on Tamil fishermen and damage to their boats and equipment in the seas by unidentified persons. He expressed worry over the precarious situation this has created.

Stalin reiterated concerns previously brought to PM Modi about Sri Lanka’s 2018 amendment to the Fisheries Act, allowing the nationalization of foreign fishing vessels. This, he explained, prevents the salvage and return of seized fishing boats to Tamil Nadu, causing financial distress to fishermen and their families.

In his letter, Stalin urged PM Modi to address the issue diplomatically, requesting the Sri Lankan government to withdraw the nationalization of apprehended Indian fishing boats and release them immediately. He emphasized the need for urgent attention to ensure the safety and well-being of Tamil fishermen.

Calling for a joint working group to resolve the matter, Stalin urged PM Modi to work towards the release of 77 fishermen and their 151 boats held by Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, in response to the situation, fishermen in Ramanathapuram and Thangachimadom areas of Tamil Nadu are planning a protest by blocking roads against the recurring attacks and arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Note: The information is sourced from agencies.

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