DMK today termed as 'atrocious' the arrest of 49 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, saying it amounted to 'impeding' the deep sea fishing initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. Referring to the arrest of 49 fishermen from Tamil Nadu yesterday near Nedunthivu off the island nation, DMK Working President and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly M K Stalin also slammed the Lankan Navy for the 'barbaric' action of ramming its boats into the mechanised fishing vessels. "Attacking and arresting the fishermen who take up the vocation for their livelihood and to feed their family doesn't befit Sri Lanka which claims itself to be a friendly nation (to India)," he said in a statement here. "Not just the atrocious arrest, but ramming of their boats into the vessels of the fishermen and seizing other boats is barbaric," he added. The 'attack' came days after the Prime Minister had launched a deep-sea fishing initiative in Rameswaram and the latest arrest was in complete violation of human rights, he claimed. He said the arrest amounted to 'impeding' the deep sea fishing initiative. Stalin also noted that every time Indian fishermen were released from Lankan jails, their colleagues are "arrested in hordes" soon after. He also alleged that Colombo did not live up to its promises made to India in the fishermen representatives level talks held in both countries. "It is a matter of concern that fishermen are arrested and boats seized with the intention of scuttling those talks," he added. The Centre should exert consular level pressure on Sri Lanka to immediately secure the release of 69 Indian fishermen, including those arrested yesterday, and 125 boats from Lankan custody, he said. India should also convey to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister or its External Affairs Minister that Colombo should not damage the fishing vessels by ramming naval boats or seize them and hold in their custody, he added. While arresting the 49 Indian fishermen yesterday, the Lankan navy allegedly rammed their boats into the fishing vessels and had also fired in the air. Chief Minister K Palaniswami had already taken up the matter with Modi.
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