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CM writes to PM on fishermen’s release

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Updated: 03:33 GMT, Oct 18, 2018 | Published: 03:32 GMT, Oct 18, 2018 |
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Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami yesterday (Wednesday) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a direction to the Ministry of External Affairs to register India’s strong protest with the Sri Lankan government at the highest level in connection with the case of eight Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu who were facing a three-month jail term in the island nation.

In his letter, Mr. Palaniswami recalled that eight fishermen hailing from Thoothukudi were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on August 21 and were convicted of fishing illegally in Sri Lankan waters under the provisions of the Fisheries (Regulation of Foreign Fishing Boats) Act.

A fine of LKR 60 lakh (approximately ₹26 lakh per person) was imposed on the fishermen. “The court has also ordered that in case the fine is not paid, they will have to serve three months in prison,” he said.

The CM noted that he had, in his earlier letter to Mr. Modi on July 7, expressed concerns over the amendments to the Act and their implications for Indian fishermen, especially those from Tamil Nadu.

The latest move by the Sri Lankan government to enforce the amendments made to the Act against the fishermen from Tamil Nadu was “nothing but a mockery of the diplomatic efforts being undertaken by the Government of India to sort out the sensitive issue,” he said.

The CM sought the External Affairs Ministry’s intervention to defend the Indian fishermen in the Sri Lankan courts and secure their release without their having to pay any fine or serve time in jail. He also sought the release of all 16 fishermen from T.N. currently languishing in Sri Lankan jails.

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