CM urges Modi to secure release of TN fishermen from Lankan custody

Chennai: The Tamilnadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami yesterday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the Centre take concrete action through diplomatic channels to secure the release of 46 Indian fishermen kept in Sri Lankan custody and their 26 boats as they were getting ruined. He also requested Modi to act decisively and find a solution and permanently resolve the long-standing issue. 

In the last two months, in nine separate incidents, fishermen from Thanjavur, Ramanathapuram, Pudukkottai and Nagappattinam districts were arrested by the Lankan Navy.

In his letter, Palaniswami expressed concern over the prolonged confinement of the fishermen and said their families back home were facing poverty.  Earlier this month, seven fishers were arrested from Nagapattinam, he wrote. In the letter, the Chief Minister once again demanded the Centre to annul the Indo-Sri Lankan agreements made in 1974 and 1976 and asked Centre to restore the traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay.

He said the constitutional validity of these agreements, through which the Katchatheevu islet was ceded to the island republic, has been challenged by late J Jayalalithaa in 2008 in the Supreme Court.

NT Bureau