Indian fishermen push for urgent talks with Sri Lanka

“The boats are all beyond repair. Since all these were bought through private loans, the fishermen owners who are of the lower middle class have been pushed to the brink”, Elango said. The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) in India said the fourth round of bilateral talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka should be held without any delay, The Hindu newspaper reported.Addressing the media in India, Chairperson of the NFF, M. Elango said Sri Lanka had detained 81 boats of fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry since last February and 27 fishermen have been under the custody of Sri Lankan authorities. Expressing solidarity with the fishermen who announced picketing before the Sri Lankan Embassy in Chennai, he pointed out that fishermen have been unhappy as the Union government has failed to find a solution to their problems in the last two years. Elango further added that he would meet the Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and urge her to ensure that the fourth round of bilateral talks between the fishermen of the two countries is held without anymore delay.He would also urge that all the 81 boats that have been detained in this last one year should be released immediately. The NFF has appealed to the Centre to create a separate ministry for fisheries and fisher welfare and a legislation to protect the rights of the fisher and other traditional coastal communities. (Colombo Gazette)

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