TNA Bats For Jaffna Fishermen

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has urged India to amicably address the Palk Bay conflict facing fishermen of both countries.

Following a meeting with visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said, “We mentioned the fact that consequent to the fact Indian trawlers coming here in unlimited numbers the fishing rights of local fishermen are being greatly disturbed.” Handing over a letter from the Jaffna Fisheries Federation to Swaraj, TNA leaders requested New Delhi to take action to resolve the issue. “They are appreciating of the need to address the issue and I think it will be addressed without a delay,” Sampanthan said.

The TNA conveyed a request from the northern Sri Lankan fishermen — most affected by the Indian trawlers allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters — to meet with the Prime Minister in Jaffna on March 14.

Meanwhile, TNA also discussed the question devolution and return of land by the army.

The fisheries issue figured in almost all meetings that Swaraj had, according Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin. Recognising the humanitarian dimension of what was a livelihood issue for fishermen of both countries, New Delhi was exploring interim solutions to the issue, while simultaneously looking at long-term alternatives such as deep sea fishing. “We are trying to schedule the fishermen’s talks, targeting a date soon after Modi’s visit,” Akbaruddin told reporters.
(With inputs from The Hindu)

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