Jaishankar assures Stalin of according utmost priority to safety of fishermen

Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar on Thursday responded to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, assuring proactive action by the Centre for the release of detained fishermen in Sri Lanka.

He said 34 Indian fishermen are currently under judicial remand in Sri Lanka, and six others have been convicted and are serving sentences there.

He also mentioned that the NDA government has endeavoured to address the livelihood interests of the fishing community.

“The Indian High Commission in Colombo and the Consulate in Jaffna have been expeditiously and consistently taking up such cases for early release of those detained. You are also aware that the genesis of this issue goes back to 1974, following an understanding between the then Union Government and the State Government,” wrote Jaishankar.

“After coming to office in 2014, the NDA government has endeavoured to address the livelihood interests of our fishing community and its humanitarian aspects. These efforts continue in their multiple dimensions, including through engaging the Government of Sri Lanka. You may be assured that we give the utmost priority to the welfare and security of Indian fishermen and will always do so,” he added.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin had earlier written three letters to External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on June 19, 24 and 25, urging him to secure the immediate release of all the fishermen and their fishing boats apprehended by Sri Lanka.