Chennai, March 7: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday alleged that Sri Lanka is attempting to “intimidate” India into not raising its voice against the atrocities on Tamils in that country by arresting Indian fishermen.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said: “The incidents of arrests of fishermen and the recent firing should be viewed as an indirect attempt to intimidate the Government of India and browbeat it into not raising its voice against Sri Lankan atrocities on innocent Sri Lankan Tamilians in the international fora.”
The text of the letter was released to the media here. Jayalalithaa was referring to the firing by the Lankan Navy at Indian fishermen Wednesday and said it was “highly unacceptable”.
Urging that the Indian government not remain a silent spectator, Jayalalithaa said: “The Sri Lankan government should be advised to desist from using force against our innocent Indian fishermen who have been fishing in their traditional fishing areas for centuries.”
According to her, 14 Indian fishermen — 10 from Puducherry and four from Tamil Nadu — were shot at by the Lankan Navy Wednesday night, injuring a fisherman.
“You are already aware that 16 fishermen of Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) who were fishing in the Gulf of Mannar area were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and are presently in judicial custody in Sri Lanka,” the chief minister said in the letter.
“Over and above that, this latest incident of firing by the Sri Lankan Navy clearly indicates that the Sri Lankan Navy wants to create an atmosphere of panic, fear and tension amidst the fishermen of Tamil Nadu,” Jayalaltihaa said.