MEA apathetic to Lankan attacks on fishermen: Jayalalithaa

Chennai, June 17 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday charged the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of maintaining an “apathetic silence” on the issue of Indian fishermen being attacked by the Sri Lankan navy.

She also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan government to release all the 57 Indian fishermen in the island nation’s custody and five fishermen jailed there.

In a letter to the prime minister — the text of which was released to media here Monday, Jayalalithaa said: “The Ministry of External Affairs has continued to maintain a stoic and apathetic silence and there appears to be no effort to engage the Sri Lankan government in any dialogue to resolve the issue.”

She regretted that despite her letter of protest June 6, the central government was not taking “effective measures at the diplomatic level to secure the release of the fishermen, it is a matter of regret that there was no strong reaction from the government of India”.

Jayalalithaa said the apathy of the Indian government has emboldened the Lankan navy to continue their predatory onslaught on Tamil Nadu’s fishermen with impunity.

She said June 15, the Lankan Navy apprehended eight Indian fishermen from Rameswaram and they were remanded to 12 days custody.

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