Five fishermen from Rameswaram were today arrested by Sri Lanka naval personnel on charges of fishing in their territorial waters, prompting Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps for their release.
"This is to bring to your notice yet another incident in which five fishermen of Tamil Nadu have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy," she said.
Stating that they were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the early hours of today and taken to Kankesanthurai, she said it was a matter of "grave concern".
"I have repeatedly emphasised the importance of the Government of India undertaking a strong diplomatic offensive to uphold the rights and interests of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu," she said in her letter to Modi.
"Despite my repeated appeals to the Government of India to ensure that the traditional fishing rights of the Tamil Nadu fishermen are upheld through a permanent solution to this sensitive livelihood issue, the situation at sea remains precarious with the unabated offensive actions of the Sri Lankan navy," she said.
Jayalalithaa said at present 95 impounded fishing boats remain insecurely berthed in Sri Lanka and were sustaining severe damage.
She requested a "calibrated set of actions" to ensure that the Tamil Nadu fishermen are allowed to pursue their livelihood with freedom in "their traditional waters".
"I once again call for your immediate intervention to secure immediate release of the 34 fishermen and 95 fishing boats currently in Sri Lankan custody, including the five fishermen and their mechanised fishing boats apprehended today without any delay," Jayalalithaa said.