In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister said it was disheartening to note that 46 fishing boats remained impounded in Sri Lanka, while the Centre had taken prompt action from time to time to secure the release of 225 fishermen from Sri Lankan custody.
"I request the Centre to take up this matter with the Sri Lankan government to ensure the immediate release of the impounded fishing boats and gear before they are rendered useless," she said.
In the latest incidents, 23 fishermen from Pudukottai district and 20 others from Rameswaram fishing base were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy. They were taken to Kankesanathurai, Thalaimannar and Kayts Courts. The chief minister requested the Prime Minister to secure the safe release of the 43 Indian fishermen and their 55 fishing boats, including the 46 mechanized fishing boats, already under the Sri Lankan custody.
The chief minister reiterated the government's firm commitment to restore the traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay and retrieval of Katchatheevu.
The Centre should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements had been challenged on valid and legal grounds by herself in her personal capacity and also by the state government in the Supreme Court.
"I request the Centre to initiate decisive measures along the lines already suggested by me to find a permanent solution to this livelihood issue of our fishermen," she said.
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