The Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 30 more Indian fishermen, taking the total number of those arrested to 56 in the last two days, as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking for the release of those arrested.
DMK president M Karunanidhi also slammed the centre’s "soft approach" in a statement, compared with Delhi’s stand on the killing of Kerala fishermen by the Italian navy.
Meanwhile Jayalalithaa stated in her letter,
"I am deeply anguished to bring to your notice the repeated onslaughts of the Sri Lankan Navy on innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen who eke out their livelihood by fishing in their traditional fishing grounds in the Indian Ocean".
“We are agitated by repeated incidents of capture of our fishermen while pursuing their livelihood in their traditional fishing grounds. The action of the Lankan Navy in continuously detaining the fishermen will only escalate the tensions between the two countries, besides creating immense unrest amongst the fishermen community”.
"Nineteen fishermen of Rameswaram have been in judicial custody in Sri Lanka since March 13, apart from five, languishing in jails there since more than a year and yet another incident of arrest of 30 fishermen has taken place yesterday".
"I also wish to reiterate that the acts of arrest and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen should be viewed as acts of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka".
She went on to add that the arrests had caused “enormous agitation and unrest amongst the entire fishing community in the State”.
CPI National Secretary D Raja also spoke out against arrests, adding,
"The attacks by Sri Lankan navy on Indian fishermen is highly deplorable as it has utter contempt for international laws,"
"Does Government of India treat Tamil Nadu fishermen as Indians? It has a duty to protect them... fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puduchery have traditional rights in Katchatheevu?"
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