Protesting the repeated "onslaughts" by the Sri Lankan Navy against Tamil Nadu fishermen, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday sought the immediate intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure the release of the arrested fishermen.
"I am deeply anguished to bring to your notice the repeated onslaughts of the Sri Lankan Navy on innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen, who eke out their livelihood by fishing in their traditional fishing grounds in the Indian Ocean," Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Dr Singh.
Referring to the arrest of 30 fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday and the subsequent outcry it has generated, she urged Dr Singh to impress upon that country's government to take effective steps to prevent the recurrence of incidents of arrest or harassment of the state's fishermen in the future.
Jayalalithaa, who sought to link the increased instances of arrest of fishermen from her state to the escalated protests in Tamil Nadu over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, alleged that the neighbouring country has now resorted to such arrests and holding the fishermen in its jails.
"Nineteen fishermen of Rameswaram have been in judicial custody in Sri Lanka since March 13, apart from five others languishing in jails there since more than a year. Yet another incident of arrest of 30 fishermen has taken place yesterday," the chief minister said in her letter.
She cautioned that continued detention of fishermen will escalate the tension between the two countries, besides creating unrest amongst the fishermen community.
"I also wish to reiterate that the acts of arrest and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen should be viewed as acts of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka," she added.