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India not firm on attacks on Indian fishermen: Jayalalithaa

Chennai, Jun 7 (IANS): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday accused the central government of not taking a firm stand on the attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

She said the Indian government was not exerting pressure on Colombo to find a solution to the problem.

Referring to the arrest of 49 fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy Wednesday, she said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: "Despite my repeated protests, the government of India has taken no firm stance in the matter and has exerted little or no diplomatic pressure on Sri Lanka to bring about a permanent solution to the problem of harassment and arrests of innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu."

She urged Manmohan Singh to instruct the external affairs ministry to summon the Sri Lankan high commissioner to lodge a protest against "this latest act of illegal and high-handed abduction of such a large number of innocent fishermen in the Palk Bay".

She said the Indian government should convey in no uncertain terms "its indignation at this latest act of abduction of innocent Indian fishermen and ensure that the Sri Lankan Navy is restrained from making such unprovoked assaults on innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu".

Jayalalithaa asked the prime minister to instruct Indian diplomats in Colombo to take up the matter with Colombo and secure the release of the 49 fishermen and their boats.

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