To maintain good neighbourly relations with India, Sri Lanka must restrain its police and navy from detaining Indian fishermen who inadvertently strayed into Sri Lankan waters. These poor fishermen belong to Tamil Nadu villages.Fish catching is their livelihood. They are innocent and have no ulterior motive.
Sri Lankan Police has detained another 24 Indian fishermen, taking the total number of Tamil Nadu fishermen in their custody in the past two days to 136.
A group of local Sri Lankan fishermen was apprehended the Indian fishermen along with their seven boats and handed them over to the Ilawalai police in northern Jaffna peninsula.A group of local fishermen had apprehended 112 Indian fishermen who had allegedly strayed into Sri Lankan waters, triggering protests in Tamil Nadu, where the fishermen hailed from.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rightly said that India takes a very serious view of the Sri Lankan Navy apprehending Indian fishermen and would be taking up the matter with the Lankan government. Sri Lankan government has already been told in strong terms that such a behaviour was not acceptable.India had last month accused the Sri Lankan Navy of killing at least two Indian fishermen.
Sri Lankan Police and Navy must know that Indian fishermen have strayed into Sri Lankan waters inadvertently. They have no criminal background and they are only catching fishes in the waters of sea to earn their livelihood.
Sri Lankan Police and Navy have acted in a manner that could trigger tension between the two countries. The political parties of Tamil Nadu have already mounted pressue on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to raise the issue of Indian fishermen detention by Sri Lanka. There are large number of people living in coastal areas in Tamil Nadu and other South Indian states and fishcatching is their main profession to earn livelihood. So, it is natural that there would be politics over the issue in Tamil Nadu.
India has always been at the receiving end with its neighbours. A few years back,when there was NDA regime at the Centre and Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, Bagladesh army personnel had killed Indian Border Security personnel, who were carried hanging into India like animal corpse. And India did nothing except lodging grievances.
The senseless act of Sri Lanka must be served with stern warning that if in future their Navy and Police acted in inhuman manner, India would loose no time in giving befitting reply. The root problem lies with professional rivalries between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen. Sri Lankan fisherment are always on the look out to inform Police and Navy whenever, even if , inadvertently strayed into Sri Lankan waters.