The Centre is working with the Tamil Nadu government to get the associations of fishermen of India and Sri Lanka to meet before the Joint Working Group meeting of the two countries to consider further measures for resolving the problem of frequent arrests and attacks. "The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written to us and we are following up on that.
The cooperation of the state is essential and we are working with the Tamil Nadu government on this," Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told reporters when asked whether the issue of fishermen's problems came up in her meeting with her Lankan counterpart Karunatilaka Amalagama. She said 77 Indian fishermen were in Sri Lankan jails and a meeting of the fishermen's associations of the two countries was crucial. The issue of Sri Lankan forces arresting Indian fishermen has been contentious with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid taking up the matter with the Sri Lankan leadership during his visit here last month. "We discussed the very sensitive issue of livelihoods of fishermen... We have found a way of moving forward, now that there is agreement on both sides that our fishermen's representatives will meet quickly and find a way among themselves in a fair and rational manner" to resolve the issue, Khurshid had said after the talks.