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September 26, 2023

Sri Lanka Tramples Indian Fishermen’s Rights, A Challenge To Nation: Stalin To Centre

The Sri Lankan Navy continued to infringe on Indian fishermen’s traditional fishing rights, which appeared to be challenging the nation, Chief Minister M K Stalin told the Centre on Thursday, seeking effective countermeasures.

Writing to External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, Stalin drew his attention to the arrest of 14 fishermen and seizure of their mechanised boat by the Lankan Navy on November 16. In this year alone, 198 Tamil Nadu fishermen were apprehended by the neighbouring country.

The frequent imprisonments of fishermen, seizure of their boats and damage caused to vessels by the Sri Lankan Navy have shattered the livelihood of many fishermen who are totally dependent on fishing, Stalin said.

Even after repeated appeals from the Indian side, arrest of fishermen continue to take place and presently, 100 boats belonging to Tamil Nadu fishermen are held by Sri Lanka. The Chief Minister reiterated that the government of Tamil Nadu is keen on protecting the traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen.

“The Sri Lankan Navy’s continued act of infringements upon the traditional rights of our fishermen in the Palk Bay area appear like a challenge to India,” Stalin told Jaishankar.

“I request that the diplomatic steps required in this regard may kindly be taken so that it does not recur. I request you to direct the authorities concerned to take effective steps for the early release of all the fishermen and their fishing boats that were apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy,” he said.

Meanwhile, 14 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu’s Karaikkal, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam districts were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy on Wednesday morning for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

The fishermen had gone out to sea on Wednesday early morning in a boat owned by R. Selvamani of Kottucherrymedu. The fishermen were engaged in fishing near the IMBL at Neduntheevu when they were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy.

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