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An article on the Sri Lankan defence ministry’s official website alleges that Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is destroying the strong ties between Sri Lanka and India.
In her article titled “How meaningful are Jayalalithaa's love letters to Narendra Modi?”, independent author Shenali D Waduge alleges that the chief minister’s tantrums on the fishermen’s issue are dampening an otherwise positive outlook of the Narendra Modi government.
The website also carries a caricature of Jayalalithaa writing letters as a promo to the write up.
What Waduge alludes to in the headline are Jayalalithaa’s letters to the Prime Minister on the Indian fishermen’s issue.
The author advises the Tamil Nadu chief minister “to stop her tantrums and start looking at how the Indian fishermen can be absorbed into a new avenue of livelihood if there are no fish to fish in Indian waters.”
The boat owners force Indian fishermen to poach into Sri Lankan waters because the Indian side had no fish, says Waduge asking Jayalalithaa to appreciate the reality.
Waduge says the Tamil Nadu CM should instead focus on finding livelihood alternatives to Indian fishermen who have no fish to fish in Indian waters.
Jayalalithaa has been demanding that the government of India initiate moves to retrieve Katchatheevu islands which she says was given away to the island nation.
However, Waduge asserts that the International Maritime Border Line drawn up in 1974 and 1976 is a bilateral agreement between India and Sri Lanka.
Jayalalithaa cannot change the legality of this agreement honoured by the two sovereign nations, she says.
Katchatheevu came under the jurisdiction of Sri Lanka following the IMBL and Sri Lanka's claim to the island was made in 1924, the Sri Lankan author asserts and claims that as far as in 1876 the island was referred to as belonging to Sri Lanka.
“Thus, with a bilateral agreement in place it is Tamil Nadu fishermen who are violating the IMBL and the arrest of fishermen poaching into Sri Lankan waters cannot be faulted on Sri Lanka,” she declared in her article.
“Poaching is no solution,” the Sri Lankan writer says summing up her essay.
The Sri Lankan defence ministry distanced itself from the article through a disclaimer saying that the “the Ministry of Defence bears no responsibility for the ideas and opinion expressed by the numerous contributors to the Opinion Page of this web site.”
Tamil Nadu government has not reacted to the article but Jayalalithaa’s party, the AIADMK, is upset with the criticism of the chief minister and may raise the issue in Parliament.