"It deeply pains me to have to write to you yet again, bringing to your notice two separate incidents in which 46 Indian fishermen along with 11 boats from Tamil Nadu have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy,” she mentioned in her fresh missive to Modi.

24 fishermen in six mechanized boats from Kottaipattinam were apprehended earlier on Wednesday. In another incident, 22 of them from Rameswaram were taken into custody, taking the total arrest to 46.

While the 11 fishermen were arrested last midnight, 36 fishermen were apprehended on Wednesday morning on charges of crossing International Maritime Boundary Line, Gopinath, Assistant Director of Rameswaram Fisheries Department and T Sesuraja, Rameswaram Fishermen Organization president said.

The navy personnel, who came in ships, also fired in the air threatening the fishermen to leave the area. They also sank a mechanized boat worth about Rs 40 lakh besides damaging several crafts and fishing nets, they said.

The AIADMK supremo also renewed her plea for nullifying what she described as ‘unconstitutional’ Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 and demanded that steps be taken to restore the traditional rights of Indian fishermen.
    
She also reiterated her often repeated demand for retrieval of Katchatheevu islet ceded to Sri Lanka to protect the fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
    
She also reiterated that the Centre should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements have already been challenged by her state in the Supreme Court.

Indian fishermen are often detained by the Sri Lankan Navy for venturing into foreign water while fishing.

Of late, the issue has been one of the major bones of contention between India and the island nation.

Jayalalithaa, who has always been quite vocal on the issue, had last month boycotted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi because Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited for the event.

Sri Lankan Navy personnel had earlier on June 7 arrested 82 fishermen after they allegedly entered the island nation’s water. However, they were ordered to be released by President Mahinda Rajapakse in a goodwill gesture.
    
The Indian Coast Guard has repatriated 680 fishermen since January this year.

(JPN/Agencies)

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