Responding to the death of 4 Tamil fishermen, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the Rajya Sabha and maintained that the matter had been taken up with Sri Lanka in the “strongest terms”.
“We have taken it up in strongest terms with the Sri Lankan government and this particular incident I think was particularly unacceptable and that has been made very very clear to them”, he said.
The four fishermen were reported missing on 19 January, only to be found four days later with the Sri Lankan Navy reporting them in the Palk Strait. Whilst the fishermen are reported to have died after their boats collided with Sri Lanka’s Navy vessel however this is contested by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva who maintains the fishermen were brutally attacked and killed.
“The Prime Minister should condemn, as our leader has requested, this incident. This should not happen again. I hope you will take this issue very seriously and give hope and confidence to the fishermen that nothing would happen henceforth when they go fishing,” Mr. Siva added.
Thus far, 245 Tamil Nadu fishermen have been killed in Sri Lanka, reported All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader M. Thambidurai. Thambidurai further noted that Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, has written to the Prime Minister requesting him to take necessary action against the Sri Lankan authorities. Addressing parliament he said:
“Sir, on behalf of the AIADMK party, the Tamil Nadu government and also the Tamil Nadu fishermen, I condemn the Sri Lankan Navy for doing these kinds of atrocities and killing our fishermen. This is going to affect the relationship between India and Sri Lanka”.
This event follows escalating tensions between India and Sri Lanka as the Rajapaksa administration has caved to Sinhala Buddhist nationalist demands to reject an agreement made over the East Container Terminal.