New Delhi/Chennai, Jan 10 (): Tamil fishermen in Sri Lankan jails would be the main agenda in the upcoming talks between the two countries’ fishermen representatives.
NFF (National Fish Workers Federation) met Dr Subramanian Swamy in Chennai and gave him a memorandum, urging him to take up the Tamil fishermen issue and get them released. Dr Swamy is to visit Sri Lanka on an invitation from Rajapaksa government.
NFF met the Prime Minister and asked him to announce the schedule of the talks. The continuing arrest of Tamil fishermen from Tamil Nadu and the Puducherry has become a political issue for the two Dravidian parties.
NFF said that they had no details of fishermen participants from both countries, and the rank of the officials as well as Ministers from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and Northern Province government in Sri Lanka.
Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told NFF that the bilateral talks would be held in Chennai on January 20, and the CM of Tamil Nadu had given consent; after that there was no official movement. Both the nations have not made any announcement. Khurshid told NFF that all Tamil fishermen in jails would be released before the talks.
The Lankan Navy continues to seize fishing vessels and arrest Tamil fishermen. NFF figures show, 307 Tamil fishermen are in Sri Lankan prisons and 88 boats have been seized. NFF wanted all Tamil fishermen in Sri Lankan prisons and Sri Lankans in Indian jail should be released along with the seized boats, NFF added.
NFF wanted a separate ministry to deal with the fisheries sector and the problems of fishermen. DMK president Karunanidhi said that TN CM Jayalalithaa was doing lip service by writing letters to the PM and releasing it to the media. Jayalalithaa blamed Karunanidhi for not putting pressure on Congress during their tenure in UPA.