Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fishermen arrest: DMK, AIADMK slam govt.

NEW DELHI, March 14, 2013 PTI

Angry members from DMK, a key constituent of the ruling UPA, on Thursday targeted the government in Parliament over frequent arrests of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, saying it has become the "weakest" in protecting its own citizens.

The attack on the government, in which the AIADMK also joined, came in the Lok Sabha when DMK member TKS Elangovan expressed concern over the arrests, saying such incidents had now become a regular feature.

"India is one of the largest democracy in this part of the world. But it is the weakest in protecting its own citizens, be it the Tamil fishermen or five Indian security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir," Mr. Elangovan said.

He said while 50 Indian fishermen have been arrested this morning and three of their boats captured by Sri Lankan Navy, 20 fishermen were arrested on Wednesday.

At one stage, DMK members were in aisle threatening to move into the Well following signal from their leader T R Baalu.

AIADMK leader M Thambidurai attacked the government for not taking any steps to prevent such incidents which had become "a daily occurrence" and demanded immediate steps to get the fishermen released.

Observing that 800 Tamil fishermen had been killed by Sri Lankan navy in the past few years, he wanted to know whether the Indian coast guard and navy were taking any measure to bring the culprits to book and protect the Indian fishermen from such attacks.

The AIADMK leader said such arrests and "attacks" on Indian fishermen were on the rise "since we have started raising the Sri Lankan humanitarian issues".

As an agitated Mr. Baalu sought response from the government, the Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was collecting facts and he could make a statement later.

In the Rajya Sabha, V Maitreyan (AIADMK) raised the issue of fishermen and soon rushed to the Well and reached close to the podium.

When Chairman Hamid Ansari warned him, Mr. Maitreyan along with his two party colleagues N Balaganga and A Elavarasan squatted in the Well.

Earlier, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) said only this month six incidents of arrests of fishermen have taken place and demanded a permanent solution to the problem.
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