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Sri Lankan Navy action hitting diplomatic efforts, says Tamil Nadu CM

imagesAlleging that Sri Lanka had been trying to thwart efforts for a diplomatic solution to the issues relating to sharing of marine fish resources, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday said the continuous arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy seemed to be intended so.

Bringing to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the arrest of 10 fishermen by Lankan Navy early morning Tuesday, the chief minister said the arrests came close to the shooting on March 6 in which TK Britjo, an innocent Indian fisherman was killed and another fisherman injured.

Although shortly after the shooting incident, 85 Indian fishermen were released by the Lankan Navy, the arrests made again on Tuesday showed that the Lankan Navy had little regard for diplomatic efforts to solve the vexatious issue.

The chief minister said there were a number of examples worldwide where through bilateral diplomatic efforts of the countries which shared narrow waters between them, mutually acceptable arrangements for sharing of marine fish resources had been worked out.

Referring to the non-release of 129 boats including the one seized on Tuesday, Palaniswami said these boats had been precariously berthed and  prolonged disuse would have caused irreversible damages. “These boats must be returned in a refurbished, seaworthy condition,” he added.

The chief minister further said a decisive shift in the manner of dealing with this sensitive issue was long awaited. He requested the prime minister to immediately direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take concrete action through diplomatic channels to secure the immediate release the fishermen and 129 fishing boats, the 10 fishermen and their mechanised fishing boat rounded up on Tuesday.

Protests had erupted at Thangathchimadam in Rameswaram following the death of Britjo in an alleged shooting incident. The protestors wanted the Lankan Navy hauled over the coals and their traditional right in the Palk Strait restored to them. The protests were called off after the intervention of the Union government through its emissaries, Pon Radhakrishnan and Nirmala Sitharaman.

Courtesy – The New Indian Express

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