In a recent diplomatic triumph, the Sri Lankan Navy, on November 18, detained two country boats carrying 22 fishermen from Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, accusing them of fishing in international waters.
The fishermen, released after interrogation, arrived in Pacmbam through boats. This incident, emblematic of recurring challenges faced by Tamil Nadu fishermen, drew attention from Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
A delegation of traditional fishermen appealed to Sitharaman for intervention, citing adverse climatic conditions that led to the unintentional straying of the fishermen. Acting swiftly, Sitharaman engaged with the Foreign Secretary and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, resulting in the prompt release of the detained fishermen.
Expressing gratitude, the fishermen’s delegation commended Sitharaman for her decisive action.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, earlier on October 29, had written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, emphasizing the persistent issue of Sri Lankan Navy’s repeated arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
Stalin underscored the distress and suffering inflicted on the fishing community, urging the Government of India to vocally advocate for their rights and safety.
Stalin’s letter highlighted the escalating tensions, with 10 fishing boats and 64 Tamil Nadu fishermen apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in October alone. He called for the protection of traditional fishing rights in the Palk Bay region, emphasizing the need for a more assertive stance from the Government of India.
The successful resolution of this recent incident underscores the importance of diplomatic channels in safeguarding the interests and safety of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
The timely intervention by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman exemplifies the government’s commitment to addressing the concerns of the fishing community and upholding their rights in the face of challenges posed by neighboring nations.