Charging the government at the Centre with "soft handling" the issue of Sri Lankan Navy's alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen, chief minister Jayalalithaa today asked it to ensure that the island nation's Navy strictly refrains from harassing them with impunity.
"The Sri Lankan Navy, emboldened by the soft handling of the issue by the Government of India, is attacking/harassing fishermen of Tamil Nadu with impunity," Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
She said the statements at diplomatic level meetings of the two countries stating that "the use of force on fishermen cannot be justified by any means" remained only on paper and were honoured more in the breach by the Lankan Navy.
The Lankan Navy's actions "seem to be making a mockery of the entire diplomatic process," she said referring to the latest incident, where its personnel allegedly forcibly took away fish netted by fishermen in mid-sea off Arukattuthurai in Tamil Nadu yesterday.
"This incident is yet another instance of the high handedness of Sri Lankan Naval personnel who keep on targeting the poor and innocent fishermen of Tamil Nadu while they try to eke out their livelihood through fishing," she said.
Jayalalithaa referred to her earlier communications to the Prime Minister, seeking Delhi's intervention to end the alleged attacks.
"I, therefore, request you to kindly take up this issue strongly with the Sri Lankan Government and ensure that the Sri Lankan Navy strictly refrains from harassing Indian fishermen who conduct fishing in their traditional waters for their subsistence and ensure that such incidents do not occur in future," she said.