Centre: R.M.I. Rathnayake, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries of the Government of Sri Lanka
Following the arrest of several Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lanka’s Navy last week, Indian representatives called for the release of Tamil fishermen during the fourth meeting of the Indian-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries, held on the 30 December.
Despite an agreement for constructive engagements between the Indian and Sri Lankan governments, 40 Tamil Nadu fishermen have been arrested and at least six boats have impounded.
Speaking at meeting, Dr Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary to the Department of fisheries maintained that:
“India… remains committed to working constructively with Sri Lanka to address all issues related to fishermen and their livelihoods in a humanitarian manner and in line with past understandings”.
In response to the arrests, Tamil Nadu fishery representatives held an emergency meeting in Rameshwaram, India. They urge the Tamil Nadu government to provide protection for fishing in traditional waters and immediate action to prevent interruption of fishing activities.
Tamil Nadu Parties including DMK and MDMK have expressed their grievance with the attacks and arrests made by the Sri Lankan Navy. MDMK Secretary and MP Vaiko said that the root cause of the problem lay in India ceding Katchateevu islet to Sri Lanka. Vaiko has called upon India's central government to retrieve the islet.