ANI Photo | BJP leader K Annamalai seeks External Affairs Ministry’s intervention in repatriation of TN fishermen

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Tamil Nadu unit president K Annamalai on Wednesday sought the intervention of the External Affairs Ministry for the early repatriation of the 18 Tamil fishermen and their two boats detained by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tuesday evening.
“We request the kind intervention of our External affairs ministry for the early repatriation of the detainees and the release of their fishing boat,” Annamalai said in his letter to the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
“We bring to your kind attention the arrest of 18 Tamil fishermen from Pamban by the Sri Lankan Navy today, and 2 fishing boats belonging to these fishermen were also apprehended (IND/TN/10/MM/2677 & IND/TN/10/MM/2673),” Annamalai wrote in his letter.
The Sri Lanka Navy said that it “conducted a special operation to chase away Indian poaching trawlers from Sri Lankan waters on the evening of January 16, 2024”.
“The operation led to the seizure of 02 Indian trawlers, with 18 Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters off Mannar,” the Sri Lankan Navy said in an official release.
The apprehended Indian fishermen (18) and the poaching trawlers (02) were brought to the Thalpadu Pier in Mannar.
“In continuation of these efforts, the North Central Naval Command deployed its Inshore Patrol Craft to chase away a cluster of Indian poaching trawlers, after having spotted they were engaging in illegal fishing in Sri Lankan waters on 16th January. In this operation, naval personnel held 02 Indian poaching trawlers with 18 Indian fishermen, continued to remain in island waters off Mannar,” the Sri Lankan Navy said.
The apprehended Indian fishermen and the trawlers were brought to the Thalpadu Pier in Mannar and they will be handed over to the Talaimannar Fisheries Inspector for onward legal action, the Navy added.
Notably, the arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy in the recent past have been a matter of concern not just for the Centre but also for the Tamil Nadu government.
The issue was also discussed during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe during the latter’s visit to India in July this year.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had also urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishnkar to work for the ‘immediate release’ of 12 fishermen who were detained by Sri Lanka while fishing near the island nation.
This comes after the Sri Lankan Navy detained 12 Indian fishermen and seized their three trawlers on January 13.
“I would like to draw your attention to the apprehension of 12 fishermen and three fishing boats by the Sri Lankan Navy on January 13,” CM Stalin stated in the letter.
“I request you to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan Government through appropriate diplomatic channels to immediately secure the release of our fishermen and their fishing boats,” he added.
The fishermen from Kottaipattinam Fishing Harbour of Pudukottai District ventured for fishing on January 13, in three mechanised fishing boats bearing registration numbers ‘IND-TN-08-MM-169, IND-TN-08-MM-151 and IND-TN-10-MM-730’, Stalin stated.
They were taken into custody while they were fishing near Neduntheevu Island in Sri Lanka. According to the Sri Lankan Navy, the Indian fishermen were allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters. They were detained off the Kovilan Lighthouse in Kareinagar, Jaffna and brought to the Kankasanthurai harbour

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