Concerned over the reported killing of an Indian fisherman and arrest of many by the Sri Lankan Navy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will meet the aggrieved fishermen from Tamil Nadu, Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman has said. “The fishermen’s representatives wanted to meet officials of the external affairs ministry. But the government has made arrangements for them to meet the external affairs minister herself. She (Swaraj) has come back to Parliament after recovering and is ready to meet them,” Sitharaman told reporters at the ongoing International Engineering Sourcing Show organised by EEPC India here yesterday.
She said the Centre is taking efforts at every level to resolve the issue, which crops up now and then. Asked about a timeline for such resolution, the minister said that since it involves another country (Sri Lanka) and its fishermen, all these factors should be taken into consideration.
On the protests on Jallikattu, Sitharaman said whether it is Jallikattu or the fishermen issue, people have taken to such a recourse because “there is a gap between the people and their representatives which needs to be bridged”.
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The purported killing of the fisherman by the Sri Lankan Navy and arrests of several others have prompted India to raise the issue with Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Bridgo, 22, from Thangachimadam in central Rameswaram of Tamil Nadu, was allegedly shot dead earlier this month when he was fishing in a mechanised boat off the Katchatheevu islet, triggering protests in the state.
Besides, 24 Indian fishermen were picked up by the Sri Lankan Naval personnel on Sunday for allegedly crossing the international maritime boundary line and fishing in the island nation’s territorial waters.