Chennai: Voicing serious concern over continued attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday asked the Centre to take up urgently the issue with the island government to ensure that no such "brutal incidents occur in mid-sea again."
"I am also deeply pained to point out that the issue of attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen is not being treated as a national issue.No serious action is initiated whenever such attacks occur," she said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh drawing his attention to the recent incident when a boat carrying four fishermen of Rameswaram were attacked by "some Sri Lankan miscreants" who hurled petrol bombs.
She alleged that the continued occurrence of incidents of harassment proves that the Sri Lankan government has not taken serious measures to curb the incidents of violence against Tamil Nadu fishermen.
"These recurring attacks confirm my earlier statement that the Sri Lankan government is adopting double standards with regard to fishermen's issues," she said.
Noting that the joint working group meeting held at Colombo in January this year agreed that use of force could not be justified under any circumstances, she alleged that assurances given by the Lankan government "only remain on paper."
The latest attack "proves that all discussions aimed at ensuring the safety of our fishermen while fishing is an exercise in futility," she said.
Jayalalithaa said she wished to reiterate that the consistent policy of her government was to "restore the fishing rights of the Indian fishermen in their traditional fishing areas in the Palk Bay waters where they have been traditionally fishing from time immemorial."
She urged Singh to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan Government and its President urgently, and ensure that no such "brutal incidents occur in mid-sea again".