Centre asks TN govt for list of fishermen for India-Sri Lanka talks

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Chennai, 21 Dec 2021: The Union Ministry of External Affairs has directed the Tamil Nadu government to provide a list of people representing fishermen associations in the state for talks between the Indian side and the Lankan side on the dispute over fishing.


The Tamil Nadu government, according to sources, will be soon sending the list of participants after consulting the fishermen associations and leaders.


The move assumes significance after the arrest and subsequent prison of 55 Indian fishermen from Rameswaram and Mandapam in Tamil Nadu. The fishermen were arrested on December 19 by the Sri Lankan Navy and according to information they were produced before a Sri Lankan court and subsequently remanded in a Jaffna prison. According to information available, the arrested are remanded in judicial custody till December 31. Eight mechanized fishing boats belonging to the fishermen from India are also in the custody of the Sri Lankan navy.


In November, a fisherman from Ramanathapuram was killed in a Sri Lankan Navy action citing that he and his fellow fishermen had crossed the International marine waters into the Lankan side. The fishermen Rajkiran (30) died after he fell into the sea and according to fishermen who were near his boat, the Sri Lankan navy vessel had rammed into the mechanized small boat used by Rajkiran and his two other friends and this led to Rajkiran falling into the sea. He died in a hospital in Sri Lanka and his body was brought back to Tamil Nadu.


It may be noted that the previous fishermen level talks between the two countries were held in New Delhi in November 2016 and a Joint Working Group (JWG) between India and Sri Lanka had met in December 2020 virtually.


A senior official of the Tamil Nadu government, who is privy to the discussions with the Union External Affairs ministry while speaking to IANS said, "The meeting has to be held soon and the initiative taken by the Ministry of External Affairs is very important. We will have to take this forward and resolve the issue at the earliest or else will have to face a coastal area that is permanently on unrest which no one wants."



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