Talk tough to Lanka, Jayalalitha tells indian PM Manmohan
Tamilnadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey the Centre's serious objection to Sri Lanka with regard to the continuous incidents of harassment and attacks on the fishermen of Tamilnadu.
In a letter to Manmohan, a copy of which was released to the press here, she said, 'I would also like to emphasise that the harassment of the fishermen of Tamilnadu should be viewed as an act of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka, similar to acts of firing across the borders of India by neighbours such as Pakistan and China. The attack on the fishermen belonging to Tamilnadu should be viewed as a national issue and not as an isolated problem of Tamilnadu alone.'
Bringing to the Prime Minister's attention various incidents of attacks and harassment of fishermen of Tamilnadu by the Sri Lankan Navy and Sri Lankan 'miscreants' while fishing in the Palk Bay area, the Chief Minister recalled that the the fishermen of Tamilnadu had, from time immemorial, been fishing in the Palk Bay area in order to earn their livelihood.
'This government accords the highest priority to protecting the fishing rights of its fishermen and ensuring their safety. I wish to inform you with deep anguish that since this government took charge in May 2011, there have been as many as 16 incidents of attacks / harassment and apprehension of Tamilnadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Authorities.'
Jayalalithaa further said: 'When Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai called on me in Chennai on 8 October, I brought the various incidents of attacks and harassment to his notice and requested him to take up the above issues with the government of Sri Lanka.'
'However, it is distressing to note that on the same day, even before the Foreign Secretary reached Colombo, the Sri Lankan Navy again chased away our fishermen in the sea by firing in the air, off Mandapam coast of Ramanathapuram district and this incident has been widely reported in the print and electronic media.'
She added: 'I request your kind intervention in this issue of great concern and request the government of India to convey its serious objection to the Sri Lankan government with regard to the continuous incidents of harassment and attacks on the fishermen of Tamilnadu.'