Deep sea fishing will 'permanently' end conflict with Sri Lanka: Sushma on ‘Fishermen Arrest issue’
Source : NewsBharatiDate : 03-Aug-2017
New Delhi, August 3: In Parliament today, the matter of arresting Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy was tabled in front of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. While speaking at the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament, Swaraj said, “The matter is being raised in each meeting of PM Modi with Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister. Same has resulted in release of 42 boats and 251 fishermen.”
In the Question hour of the Session, CPI leader D Raja asked Swaraj about what steps is the government taking towards the issue. Responding to the quation, Swaraj replied, “This is an adhoc situation. Sometimes they (Sri Lankan government) release the fishermen and the boats early before the release date and sometimes, they take enough time. And I would like to highlight that after BJP cam into power, the release is happening quickly.”
She also mentioned about the five fishermen who had death penalty on their head. “5 fishermen who were captured by the Sri Lankan Navy had death penalty charges over them before previous government’s term, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi after winning the BJP elections spoke to the Sri Lankan authorities and got the charges removed and brought them back safely”, said Swaraj.
She also mentioned that the government will encourage the traditional fishermen for deep sea fishing. A budget of 1,500 crore has been earmarked and so far 200 crore has been released from the Central government. PM Modi himself encouraged the fishermen community for deep sea fishing. In fact, he agreed to pay any amount for the fishermen’s safety in the foreign territorial waters.
After an increase in numbers of Indian fishermen crossing the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) for fishing which further lead to their arrest and seizure of fishing vessels by the Sri Lankan navy, Swaraj had in March 2017 said that India is taking up the issue of fishermen with the Sri Lankan government through diplomatic channels. “Central government accords the highest priority to promote the well-being, safety and security of Indian fishermen and have strongly conveyed to Sri Lanka that the use of force cannot be justified under any circumstances,” Swaraj had said earlier in Rajya Sabha.