Curb Sri Lankan aggression against fishermen, Modi told

Chennai, March 7 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to curb Sri Lanka’s “aggressive actions” against innocent Indian fishermen.

In a letter to Modi released to the media, Palaniswami said: “I strongly urge the Prime Minister to intervene personally in this sensitive livelihood issue of our fishermen and use all means at the command of the government of India to curb the unacceptable aggressive actions of the Sri Lankan Navy and to protect the life, limb and liberty of our innocent fishermen.”

Palaniswami said the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India should be summoned and told about the strong feelings of the Indian and Tamil Nadu governments about the unprovoked firing on Indian fishermen.

His letter comes as an Indian fisherman was shot dead and another injured allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy in the Palk Straits. Colombo has said its Navy was not involved.

According to Palaniswami, five fishermen in a mechanised fishing boat set sail from Rameshwaram on the Tamil Nadu coast.

On Monday night, when they were fishing in the Palk Bay, four Sri Lankan Naval vessels surrounded their boat and opened “unprovoked and indiscriminate fire”.

“Two fishermen received bullet injuries. While Britjo died while being brought to the shore, Saran has been admitted in a hospital,” Palaniswami said.

Referring to his letter of March 5 highlighting the “escalation in instances of harassment and apprehension” of Indian fishermen, Palaniswami said the latest killing marked a new low for the Sri Lankan navy.

“In no circumstances can such unprovoked violence from the Sri Lankan side be tolerated,” the Chief Minister said.