Sushma assures support to Tamil fishermen

New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday assured a delegation of fishermen from Tamil Nadu that India will continue to work for the release of all Indian boats and fishermen in Sri Lankan custody.

According to a source here, Sushma Swaraj conveyed to the fishermen that the government’s efforts in the last two years had earlier led to the release of all the boats and fishermen in Sri Lankan custody.

“She assured that the government would remain closely engaged with the Sri Lankan government to secure the release of all Indian boats and fishermen currently in Sri Lankan custody,” the source said.

“She reiterated the government’s commitment for early implementation of the Rs 1,500 crore package to develop deep sea fishing capacities for fishermen in Tamil Nadu.”

The fishermen, accompanied by Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan and MPs L. Ganesan and Anwar Rajha, told Sushma Swaraj about the difficulties they faced while fishing in the waters dividing India and Sri Lanka.

They made a specific reference to the killing of an Indian fisherman, K. Britjo, on March 6.

Britjo, 21, was shot dead in Sri Lankan waters, igniting tensions in Tamil Nadu. But Colombo insisted its Navy was not involved.

Sushma Swaraj told the delegation the Sri Lankan government was conducting a thorough investigation into the matter.