Restoration of Katchatheevu islet to India is the only permanent solution to a long-standing issue of Indian fishermen being apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said today. In two separate incidents in last few days, 12 fishermen from the state were apprehended by the island nation. “The heightened intolerance of the Sri Lankan navy can be seen from the fact that fishermen were apprehended even when they were engaged in traditional fishing using gill nets in Palk Bay waters,” the chief minister said in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Palaniswami said the only solution to the long-standing issue “on a permanent basis” was restoration of Katchatheevu back to India and redrawing the International Maritime Boundary Line. He also said that the Sri Lankan government keeps on “irritating the fishermen with continuing apprehension of their boats and arrests”. The chief minister requested the prime minister to use all diplomatic channels available with the Centre to find a permanent solution to the issue. He also sought Modi’s intervention to secure the release of 72 fishermen along with 148 fishing boats apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy.