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Manmohan to contact TN on holding Indo-Sri Lankan fishermen talks

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday told a delegation of fishermen associations from Tamil Nadu that he would contact the Tamil Nadu government this week for arranging talks between the fishermen representatives of India and Sri Lanka on fishing issues so as to end the incidents of attacks and arrest of Indian fishermen on high seas by the Lankan naval personnel at Indo-Lanka maritime border.

He gave this assurance when the fishermen delegation, led by Congress MP from Cuddalore, K.S. Alagiri, explained to him how the lives of Tamil Nadu fishermen had been affected severely as over 280 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were now in Sri Lankan jails. Besides their boats have also been seized. Due to the situation other fishermen were afraid of going for fishing on high seas.

Unlike the earlier practice where the fishermen were warned or chased away from the area, now they were being arrested and remanded in jails in the Island nation thus severely affecting their livelihood, the delegation told the Prime Minister.

Mr. Alagiri told The Hindu that he informed Dr. Singh about his visit to Lanka a few months ago, wherein its Economic Development Minister and advisor to the President, Basil Rajapaksa, had told him (Mr. Alagiri) that the Government of Sri Lanka was ready to arrange for talks between the fishermen representatives of India and Lanka to end this problem. The Congress MP claimed however there was no response from the TN government so far for the proposal.

To this Dr. Singh said he would take up the issue with the TN government this week and take steps for holding such talks between the fisher folks of the two countries, according to Mr. Alagiri.

Among others, fishermen association representatives from Rameswaram – Armstrong and from Karaikal – Sankar participated. (Courtesy The Hindu)

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