Steps should be taken at the highest level to get all the fishermen and boats that have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy released, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday.
Pointing to the arrest of six Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadus Ramanathapuram district and seizure of their boat on July 20 by the Sri Lankan Navy, Stalin in a letter to the Union Minister said that as of now, 92 fishing boats from the state are under the neighbouring countrys custody. Some of these were apprehended in 2018 and could be permanently damaged, he said. The apprehended fishermen were released on a condition that the owner of the boat should appear before a Sri Lankan court in person to claim the ownership of the boat. Due to the prevailing situation in the island nation, this has not been feasible, Stalin said. “I request a strong and coordinated response by the Government of India at the highest level to release all the fishermen and fishing boats that have been apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy.” “Further, I urge the Government of India to take necessary action to seek exemption for the fishermen from appearing in person before Sri Lankan courts in view of the unprecedented situation there. I thank you for the support extended to repatriate 18 fishermen who were apprehended in the past few months.”
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