Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct the external affairs ministry to secure the release of 38 Indian fishermen from Sri Lankan jails."May I request you to instruct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter immediately and ensure the prompt release of the 38 fishermen, including the 14 detained yesterday (Sunday), who are languishing in Sri Lankan jails and the release of 78 boats currently in Sri Lankan custody?" said Panneerselvam in a letter to Modi, text of which was released to the media here.
Panneerselvam said the latest arrest of fishermen has taken place after the recent positive development in which five Indian fishermen who were sentenced to death in a "foisted case" of transporting narcotic substances were freed Nov 20.He said the Sri Lankan strategy of not releasing the boats is causing frustration among the fishermen of Tamil Nadu."Without their livelihood base, these fishermen are in a state of despondency. I urge you to take this up with the highest authorities of the Sri Lankan government and ensure the immediate release of the precariously berthed boats which continue to suffer great damage in the North-East monsoon," Panneerselvam said.