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India raises fishing issue with Rajapakse

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday, where he raised the issue of the Sri Lankan Navy’s frequent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen.

The 45-minute meeting took place on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in the Maldives, and comes as Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai ended a three-day trip to Sri Lanka, where he also discussed the issue with the Sri Lankan President.

Last week, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Manmohan Singh, urging him to “take a strong stand” against Colombo and "convey its serious apprehension through tough words and action", after a recent spate of attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy.

The letter read,

“I am constrained to point out that all the concerns of the Centre and Government of Tamil Nadu in this regard have only fallen on deaf ears where the Sri Lankan authorities are concerned.”

She went on to say, “the attacks should be viewed as a National issue” , and said there was

a definite pattern of attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy to create a fear psychosis amongst the innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen with a view to force them to desist from eking out their livelihood.”

“There is a deep feeling of unrest and concern among the fishermen community in particular and the entire State in general due to such incidents that have not stopped despite our repeated appeals to the Government of India and the diplomatic efforts of the Government of India."

The Chief Minister cited 22 incidents of attacks of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy since May this year and six major attacks during the past month alone.