Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in her July 22 letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, released by the state government on Wednesday, pressed for release of the fishermen by the Lankan Navy, five of whom were apprehended while "reportedly drifting due to engine failure."

The fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested between July 16 and July 21.

She stressed her government's "firm commitment to restoring traditional fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Bay and retrieval of Katchatheevu, which has been an integral part of India since time immemorial."

The CM said government should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements (ceding the islet to Sri Lanka) have been challenged on extremely valid and legal grounds by her in her personal capacity and by state Government in Supreme Court.

Recalling her earlier letter calling for permanent steps to resolve the issue, she urged Modi to initiate "decisive measures along the lines already suggested by me to find a permanent solution to this livelihood issue of our fishermen."

In her previous communication, she had opposed any move to install buoys along Indo-Lanka IMBL "at this point of time" while reiterating her demands submitted to him in June, calling for a package for fishermen, including a sum of Rs 975 crore over three years to procure new Deep Sea Tuna Long Liners to reduce pressure of bottom trawling boats in the Palk Bay.

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