External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the deaths of four Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lanka was unacceptable, and that India had taken up the matter with the Sri Lankan government in the “strongest terms”, PTI reported.
The four fishermen were reported missing on January 19. Four days later, the Sri Lankan Navy said that their bodies had been found in the Palk Strait. The fishermen reportedly died after their boat collided with a Sri Lankan Navy vessel.
However, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Tiruchi Siva alleged during the Rajya Sabha session on Wednesday that the fishermen had been brutally attacked and killed by the Sri Lankan Navy. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP M Thambidurai also condemned the incident.
Responding to them, Jaishankar said: “We have taken it up in strongest terms with the Sri Lankan government and this particular incident I think was particularly unacceptable and that has been made very very clear to them.”
However, Siva said that sending a demarche to the Sri Lankan High Commission was not enough, The Hindu reported. “The prime minister should condemn this incident, as our leader [DMK President MK Stalin] has requested,” Siva was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “This should not happen again. I hope you will take this issue very seriously and give hope and confidence to the fishermen that nothing would happen henceforth when they go fishing.”
The DMK leader said that alleged that fishermen from Tamil Nadu were being harassed by the Sri Lankan Navy, and compelled to quit their job.
The AIADMK, on the other hand, said that the Sri Lankan Navy’s “atrocities” will affect bilateral ties between New Delhi and Colombo.
In January, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami had announced a sum of Rs 10 lakh for the fishermen’s families. He had also urged the prime minister to order an inquiry into the deaths.