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TN BJP in a tight spot over fishermen issue

Press Trust of India  |  Rameswaram (TN) 

As fishermen continue to be arrested and their boats seized by Sri Lanka, is being accused by them of reneging on its promise to protect their interests after assuming power at the Centre.

The had promised a separate ministry for the welfare of fishermen at the Centre during the run up to the elections.

The party had also promised an end to alleged harassment of fishermen at the hands of Sri Lankan Naval personnel in the Palk Staits, something that has going on for over three decades.

The state unit for the past several years has been focusing on the travails of fishermen, a sensitive and a politically emotive issue.

In a gesture of solidarity, senior leader even visited coastal Nagapattinam district to call on the family of Jayakumar, a fisherman who was allegedly killed by Sri Lankan Navy in 2011.

Over a period of time, pitched itself as a strong espouser of rights of fishermen. Now, it finds itself in a tight spot with 75 boats and 25 fishermen in Sri Lankan custody.

A sense of resentment is pervading among fishermen in coastal districts against as Lanka is refusing to release boats.

The cost of each boat is said to be worth several lakhs and fishermen are struggling to repay debts.

"We do not know if regime is taking any effort at all to permanently solve the Indo-Lanka fishermen issue," President, Fishermen Development Trust, (an aid organisation working for fishermen welfare) P Justin Antony told PTI.

"Only now we understand that used the issue of setting up a separate ministry for the welfare of fishermen as a gimmick to garner votes," he added.

First Published: Sun, October 19 2014. 12:35 IST