Delhi emboldened Lanka: CM

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Chief minister J. Jayalalithaa has urged the Centre to take steps to prevent attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka, even as she claimed that Centre’s “soft handling” of the issue has “emboldened” Lanka.

“The Sri Lankan navy, emboldened by the soft handling of the issue by the Government of India, is attacking / harassing the fishermen of Tamil Nadu with impunity,” she said in a letter to the Prime Minister on Monday.

The statements at diplomatic-level meetings of the two countries stating that “the use of force on fishermen cannot be justified by any means” remained only on paper and are honoured more in the breach by the Sri Lankan navy, who seem to be making “a mockery of the entire diplomatic process,” she said while referring to the August 18 attack on TN fishermen.

In her letter, Ms Jayalalithaa said 18 fishermen from two villages in Nagapattinam district ventured into the sea August 17 and 18 in five boats. They were attacked while they were fishing near Vellapallam coast. The Sri Lankan navy, who attacked the fishermen with knives and rubber rods, had damaged their nets, seized their iceboxes, food and other fishing implements and dumped them into the sea.

This was yet another instance of the high-handedness of the Lankan navy, Ms Jayalalithaa said and added, “I am distressed to once again have to point out that the incidents of harassment of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy simply continue unabated.”

She requested the Prime Minister to “kindly take up this issue strongly” with Lankan government and ensure it’s navy strictly refrained from harassing Indian fishermen who fished in their traditional waters for subsistence and ensure that such incidents do not occur in future.

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