State Pitches for Fishermen Talks on March 24

State Pitches for Fishermen Talks on March 24


Wednesday, 18th March 2014

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Continuing its efforts to settle the  conflict between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu fishermen, the State  government has proposed to the Central government to hold the the third round of talks between the fishermen here on March 24.

Official sources said on Tuesday that a letter in this regard has been sent to Suchitra Durai, Joint Secretary, Union External Affairs Ministry and now it is up to the Centre to communicate with the Sri Lankan government to get its consent for the talks. The earlier proposal of the State government to hold the talks in Chennai on March 5 was unfruitful as the newly-elected government in Sri Lanka had more pressing issues to deal with.

The talks were initiated in 2013 by the efforts of then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The first two rounds of talks were held on January 27 last year in Chennai and on May 12 in Colombo. While it created a conducive atmosphere to settle the issue amicably, no consensus was arrived at. Officials in the State government said they have prepared the agenda to  be discussed during the talks.

The main demands from the Indian side would be a full-stop to the prolonged detention of arrested fishermen and the alleged inhumane treatment of the fishermen by Lankan forces. The agenda also includes rights of Indian fishermen over areas where they have been fishing for generations.

34 Indian trawlers Sent back

Colombo: Thirty four Indian trawlers, which had been released by the Sri Lankan government under a swap deal with India, were repatriated on Tuesday, Indian officials said. The process of repatriation will continue over the next few days as there are a total of 84 trawlers to be sent back, officials said. Some 15 of the 84 vessels are apparantly unusable due to the long period of non use and lack of maintenance. These may or may not be taken back. The Indian boats, berthed at Kankesanthurai in Jaffna district,  are being sent back to Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu from where they came. Forty-three Indian fishermen, who had been freed by a Trincomalee court, were also repatriated on Tuesday. With their departure there are no Indian fishermen in Lanka, officials said.

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