In letter to Modi, Jayalalithaa said: "I urge your personal intervention to prevent the aggravation that the Sri Lankan authorities and navy were causing to our fishermen."She requested Modi to direct the external affairs ministry to take up the matter with Sri Lankan authorities urgently and secure the release of the 15 fishermen and 69 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody.

These include the nine fishermen and their two fishing boats seized on January 30.India and Sri Lanka are divided by a narrow strip of sea, and Sri Lankan authorities routinely arrest fishermen from Tamil Nadu who they say fish in the island nation's waters. Fishing boats are also seized.

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