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Stalin writes to Jaishankar over arrests of fishermen by Sri Lanka, urges to convene joint working group

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also urged Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar to secure the release of all the fishermen and their fishing boats under the custody of Sri Lankan authorities.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Chennai Updated on: June 25, 2024 16:19 IST
MK Stalin, fishermen arrest
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar urging to convene the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group (JWG) to prevent further arrests of the fishermen and also requested to secure the release of all the fishermen and their fishing boats under the custody of Sri Lankan authorities.

It is pertinent to mention that the JWC discusses all relevant issues in detail including the concerns relating to fishermen and fishing boats which have been on the agenda of bilateral discussions between India and Sri Lanka for many years.

203 fishermen and 27 boats  apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy in 2024

In a letter to the EAM, Stalin drew attention towards another incident of apprehension of Tamil Nadu fishermen along with their fishing boat by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 25. "With a sense of deep anguish, I would like to bring to your attention yet another incident of apprehension of Tamil Nadu fishermen along with their fishing boat by the Sri Lankan Navy on 25.06.2024. The Sri Lankan Navy apprehended one mechanised fishing boat bearing registration number IND-TN-12-MM-5138 and ten fishermen from Nagapattinam Fishing Harbour on 25.06.2024," he said.

He said that in the year 2024 alone, 203 fishermen and 27 boats have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy. "The frequent arrests of fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan authorities have created an insecure atmosphere among the fishermen community," Stalin said. 

"Therefore, I earnestly request your immediate intervention to convene the Joint Working Group to prevent further arrests and secure the release of all 47 fishermen and 166 fishing boats currently in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities," he added.

It may be recalled that the first meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) was held on December 31, 2016, in New Delhi. The second meeting of the JWG was held in Colombo on April 7, 2017. The third meeting was held in New Delhi on October 13, 2017, the fourth JWG met in virtual mode on December 30, 2020, and the fifth meeting was held on  March 25, 2022.

Secure release of fishermen held by Sri Lanka

Earlier on Monday, Stalin requested Jaishankar to secure the immediate release of all the fishermen and their fishing boats apprehended by Sri Lanka.  "I wish to draw your attention to the apprehension of four fishermen from Tamil Nadu on June 18, 2024 by the Sri Lankan Navy. These fishermen, who set out from the Kottaipattinam fishing harbour in Pudukottai District, on their mechanised fishing boat, were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy," he said in a letter.

"These incidents not only disrupt the livelihoods of the fishermen but also instil a sense of fear and uncertainty among their families and the entire coastal communities," Stain further said.

"I therefore request you to urgently prevail upon the Sri Lankan government through appropriate diplomatic channels for the immediate release of all the fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their fishing boats," Stalin urged Jaishankar.

Also Read: Udayanidhi Stalin granted bail in case linked to 'eradicate Sanatana Dharma' remarks

Also Read: Tamil Nadu hooch tragedy: Death toll rises to 58 in Kallakurichi, Kamal Haasan visits victims

 

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