CM speaks up for TN fishermen

Pointing out that Tamil Nadu fishermen have been ‚Äútraditionally fishing in Katchatheevu not withstanding any geographical or political boundaries,‚ÄĚ chief minister J. Jayalalithaa on Thursday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask Colombo to stop its navy from harassing them.

‚ÄúThe latest incident of harassment has shocked the state of Tamil Nadu and created a ‚Äėpsychological fear‚Äô in the minds of the fishermen‚ĶI wish to reiterate that from time immemorial fishermen of Tamil Nadu have been traditionally fishing in the waters near Katchatheevu, notwithstanding any geographical or political boundaries,‚ÄĚ she said in a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which was made available to the media here.

Ms Jayalalithaa had even moved the Supreme Court demanding retrieval of Katchatheevu ‚ÄĒ an islet, ceded to Sri Lanka by New Delhi in 1974.

Drawing Mr Singh’s attention to the incident of harassment on June 26, Ms Jayalalithaa said about 704 mechanised fishing boats went for fishing in the sea from Rameswaram fishing base.

Fishermen in 45 boats fishing near Katchatheevu were harassed by the Sri Lankan Navy, which ‚Äúis reported to have chased the fishermen and cut the ropes and damaged nets of 10 boats resulting in huge loss to the fishermen,‚ÄĚ she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa recalled that she had brought to his attention various incidents of attacks by the Sri Lankan navy \ miscreants on the Indian fishermen from TN within the past 12 months and had sought his intervention.

‚ÄúI request you to kindly take up the issue with the Sri Lankan government and impress upon them the need to instruct their navy to exercise restraint and refrain from harassing innocent Indian fishermen pursuing their livelihood in their traditional waters,‚ÄĚ she urged.

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