Friday, 13 December 2013 00:01
The Government yesterday accused Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram of keeping Sri Lankan fishermen “hostage” in order to achieve her political goals.
Deputy Minister of Fisheries Sarath Kumara Gunarathne said that by arresting Sri Lankan fishermen and holding them in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha is attempting to win the support of Indian fishing communities.
Speaking in Parliament today, the Deputy Minister claimed that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is demanding that Indian fishermen be allowed to poach in Sri Lankan waters using large scale fishing gear.
The Deputy Minister said that the methods used by Indian trawlers to catch fish is damaging marine life in Sri Lankan waters when they cross the international maritime boundary.
He urged the Tamil National Alliance to raise the issue with Jayalalithaa as it is affecting the livelihood of fishermen in the North.
The Deputy Minister also said that attempts are being made to scuttle ties between Sri Lanka and India by using the fishermen issue.
However he said President Mahinda Rajapaksa is keen to ensure ties with India and the Indian central Government remain strong. (Colombo Gazette)