Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Honourable Prime Minister of India,
Office of the Prime Minister,
Sub: Indian fishermen arrested by Srilankan Navy and incarcerated in Srilankan prisons – a total of 75 within one week – seeking the intervention of your good self – Reg.
Twenty six fishermen from Karaikal of Puducherry, who ventured into the sea on April 5th for fishing in 5 boats, were captured by the Srilankan Navy and are put behind the bars. You may remember that a fisherman from Karaikal was shot at by the Srilankan Navy on 5th of March. Last week 56 fishermen from Ramnad district were taken into custody by the Srilankan Navy and 19 of them are still remanded. The fishermen of Ramnad district abstained themselves from fishing for over a week due to this fact. And when they went back to fishing this week, they are harassed. On 7th March, yet another 30 fishermen from Ramnad district are captured by the Srilankan navy and are incarcerated. This makes a total of 75 Indian fishermen being arrested within a week alone.
The fishermen of the southern districts of Tamilnadu, from Nagapattinam till Kanykumari and the Karaikal district of the Union Territory of Puducherry are been suffering harassment of various kinds by Srilankan Navy. They are beaten, their nets and boats are damaged, their catches are confiscated, many of them are arrested, incarcerated and some are shot at (resulting in life loss to the tune of over 500 fishermen so far). The Tamil fishermen see no reason for continuation of such behavior even after the end of the civil war in Srilanka.
We seek the intervention of your good office in finding a long standing solution to this perennial issue. The solution should have the involvement of the local government such as that of Tamilnadu and Puducherry. A continuous process of dialogue between the fishermen of the two nations should also be considered as a part of conflict resolution.
I wish to bring to your notice the existence of specific authority consisting of various countries, in batches of two or three countries that share coastline facing common seas, to resolve such fishing and alleged crossing the border issues. Russia, Japan and the Koreas are part of such authorities. We wish that an ‘Indo Srilankan Marine Disputes Authority’ be established in similar fashion due to your intervention.
(M. Ilango), General Secretary, NFF.