DMK chief M. Karunanidhi today slammed the recurring attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy and demanded that the Centre seek a strong and permanent solution to the vexed issue.
The 88-year-old DMK patriarch, whose party is a key constituent of the ruling UPA coalition, recalled that the DMK-backed TESO (Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation) conference here last week had demanded retrieving Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by New Delhi to Sri Lanka in 1974, as a solution for the long-drawn issue.
Referring to the latest incident where the Sri Lankan Navy allegedly forcibly took away the catch of Indian fishermen near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits, he “strongly condemned” it.
“It is a fact that every time Tamil (fishermen) is attacked, state government takes it up with the Centre and the Prime Minister, who in turn takes it up with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner or that government to satisfy us. Sri Lanka assures attacks will not recur but they do happen within a day or two of that assurance. Such incidents are a never ending story,” he said in a statement here.
Between 1991 and 2011, 85 Indian fishermen have been killed in 167 such attacks by the Lankan navy which had left nearly 200 injured. A total of 746 persons had been arrested between 2006-11, during the previous DMK regime, while 741 of them had been let off, he said.
Recalling the TESO resolution on retrieving Katchatheevu, he said the latest incident (on Saturday) had come within a week of placing such a demand.
He said the TESO conference had also demanded that India set up a naval base at Dhanushkodi here.
“The Centre should seek a strong and permanent solution to ensure our fishermen are not attacked. This is my firm appeal to the Centre on behalf of DMK,” he said.