In letter, Jayalalitha asks Manmohan to impress upon SL to stop detaining Tamil fishermen

Taking strong exception to the Centre's "dismissive" attitude towards attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to impress upon the island nation in the strongest possible manner to discontinue such action.

Referring to two separate incidents yesterday in which 37 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by Lankan naval personnel, she contended the "meek and pusillanimous" response of the Centre to these repeated attacks had emboldened the Lankan Navy to mount more unprovoked attacks.

She also observed that this attitude towards Tamil fishermen was in stark contrast to the Centre's response to the recent incident of firing on Gujarat fishermen.

"The government of India, it is learnt, rightly lost no time in conveying its stern response in the form of a summons to the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan to communicate its protest. However, the continued insensitive and ham-handed treatment of the Tamil Nadu fishermen issue in the Palk Bay is fast alienating the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu who justifiably feel that they have been let down by their own national government," she said.

Alleging that abduction and detention for long periods in prison have multiplied as the Centre took little or no action to convey its strong protest, Jayalalithaa claimed none of her letters had evoked a substantive response from the Prime Minister.

She further contended even when the External Affairs Minister had visited Colombo recently, there appeared to have been "little meaningful" dialogue on this issue, which is also being treated as 'a backyard squabble' to be sorted out by fishermen associations of both the countries.

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