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17 TN fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy, Stalin writes to EAM for their release

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Chennai: A total of 17 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of trespassing while fishing in high seas on Thursday, even as Chief Minister M.K.Stalin urged External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr.S.Jaishankar to take steps to secure their release and fine a permanent diplomatic solution to the vexatious issue.

Fisheries department sources aid the fishermen were fishing in three boats near Neduntheevu when they were arrested by the Lankan Navy for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in their waters.

Of the arrested fishermen, eight were from Thangachimadam in the island town of Rameswaram, five from Mayiladuthurai and four from Jagadapatitinam in Pudukkottai district.

All the arrested fishermen were taken to Kankesanthurai Naval base and their boats were impounded.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, in a swift action, dashed off a letter to the EAM requesting him to take steps for their release and reiterated his demand to fine a lasting solution to this recurring problem through bilateral negotiations.

In a Demi-Official letter to Dr Jaishankar, copies of which were released to the media here, Mr Stalin drew his attention the pressing matter that requires immediate attention and diplomatic intervention.

“Earlier today, three mechanised boats and 17 Tamil Nadu fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy, allegedly for crossing the IMBL into Sri Lankan waters”, he said

The recurring incidents of Tamil Nadu fishermen being apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy continue to aggravate the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the fishermen in the region.

These fishermen, who rely on fishing as their primary and sole source of livelihood, sometimes find themselves unintentionally drifting into Sri Lankan waters due to the
absence of clear demarcation and navigational challenges, he said.

The apprehensions by the Sri Lankan Navy have escalated tensions, disrupted lives and caused economic hardships to the fishermen and their families, Mr Stalin said.

“Therefore, I request you to initiate immediate diplomatic efforts with the Sri Lankan government to secure the release of the detained Tamil Nadu fishermen”, he added.

“I also take this opportunity to remind and reiterate my demand for initiating steps to find a lasting diplomatic solution through bilateral negotiations to bring peace in the lives of thousands of Indian fishermen”, he added.

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