Describing India's concerns on safety of its fishermen as having fallen on 'deaf ears' of Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa on Monday asked the Centre to take a "strong stand" against Colombo and "convey its serious apprehension through tough words and action".
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said the attacks should be viewed as a national issue and not as an isolated problem of Tamil Nadu.
"I request you to kindly take a strong stand against the government of Sri Lanka with regard to such attacks on our fishermen and convey your serious apprehension through tough words and action", she said.
Jayalalithaa said there had been over 22 incidents of attacks of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Lankan authorities since May this year and six major ones during the past one month.
Jayalalithaa said there seems to be a 'definite pattern' of attacks by the Lankan navy or miscreants to create a "fear psychosis" among innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen with a view to forcing them to desist from eking out their livelihood in their traditional areas of fishing in the Palk Bay.
"There is a deep feeling of unrest and concern among the fishermen community in particular and the entire state in general due to such incidents that have not stopped despite our repeated appeals to the government of India and diplomatic efforts of the government of India", the chief minister said.
Referring to her letter to Singh on the issue on September 10 last and her meeting with foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai, she said though Sri Lanka had promised to seriously investigate these incidents, Indian concerns have only fallen on 'deaf ears' of Lankan authorities.
Jayalalithaa thanked Singh for his reply to her letter and for his information that he had taken up the matter with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse at their meeting at New York in September last.