Chennai: Voicing concern over alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday asked the defence force of that country not to open fire on the Indian fishermen but apprehend them if they had done something wrong.
“There is no point in shooting them (Indian fishermen),” he told reporters after meeting Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi at his residence here to discuss the issue.
Mukherjee asked the Sri Lankan Navy to desist from opening fire on Indian fishermen and said if they (the Indian fishermen) had done something wrong (like crossing International Maritime Boundary Line), they should be apprehended and due procedures followed.
The union minister said he had assured Karunanidhi he would take up the matter with the foreign ministry, which in turn would raise it with Lankan authorities to ensure such incidents did not recur.
“I am told that in the last 10 days two fishermen (from Tamil Nadu) have been killed. We have good relations with Sri Lanka and are helping them,” Mukerjee said.
In a fresh incident of attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen in Palk Straits, one person was killed on 12 January when Sri Lankan Navy allegedly opened fire at three fishermen, who put out to sea from Jagadapattinnam near Pudukottai.
India had reacted strongly to the killing of an Indian fisherman in firing by the Sri Lankan Navy on 12 January, saying such incidents have no “justification” and asked authorities in the island nation to “desist” from use of force.
Tamil Nadu fishermen have complained of frequent attacks by the island republic’s navy, prompting DMK, an UPA coalition partner and other political parties in the state to demand an end to such attacks by taking up the issue strongly with Sri Lanka.
Mukherjee is here on a one-day visit to attend some official functions.