In her letter to the Prime Minister Ms. Jayalalithaa informed him that 16 fishermen from Thoothukudi District of Tamil Nadu, who were engaged in fishing in the Gulf of Mannar in 3 Mechanized Fishing boats were reported to have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the early hours yesterday.
The fishing boats and fishermen were reportedly taken to Kalpitiya Police Station for further investigation and it was learnt that they have been produced in Court, she added. Ms. Jayalalithaa said she was pained to point out that the incidents of apprehension and harassment of innocent Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy have become a regular occurrence in the past few months creating a feeling of insecurity and fear amongst the fishermen community.
The families of the arrested 16 fishermen and various Fishermen Associations have appealed to the Government of Tamil Nadu to secure the early release of these apprehended fishermen since they were only pursuing their livelihood in the Gulf of Mannar area, where they have been fishing all along.
Chief Minister Jayalaltihaa observed that the Sri Lankan Government had always assured New Delhi in various bilateral meetings that Indian fishermen who were apprehended while fishing would be released expeditiously without prolonged legal hurdles. Chief Minister Jayalaltihaa requested Prime Minister to kindly urge the Sri Lankan authorities to immediately release the 16 fishermen with their 3 boats without filing any cases against them and solicited his urgent action.