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QUESTION NO.1204 ATTACK ON INDIAN FISHERMEN

July 29, 2021

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1204
TO BE ANSWERED ON 29.07.2021

ATTACK ON INDIAN FISHERMEN

1204. SHRI P. WILSON:

Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government is aware of firing on Tamil fishermen recently by Sri Lankan Navy personnel and damage to their boats while they were returning from the Palk Straits after fishing, if so,the detail thereof;

(b) whether Government has taken up this matter with Sri Lankan government, if so, the details thereof;

(c) whether any discussions were held regarding Tamil fishermen who are frequently attacked by Sri Lankan Navy when they go overseas, if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor; and

(d) the steps taken to prevent the attack on Indian fishermen during last three years?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
(SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN)

(a) & (b) Following reports in June 2021 of the Sri Lankan Navy firing on Indian fishing boats in the Palk Straits, the High Commission of India in Colombo immediately took up the matter in regard to this incident and lodged a strong protest with the Government of Sri Lanka. It was reiterated to the Sri Lankan Government that the issue of fishermen should be viewed as a purely humanitarian and livelihood concern and that the use of force is not resorted to under any circumstances.

(c) Government attaches the highest priority to the safety and security of Indian fishermen. Issues relating to Indian fishermen have been raised at the highest levels, including by our Prime Minister with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister during the Virtual Bilateral Summit held in September 2020. During his visit to Colombo in January 2021, External Affairs Minister met the Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries and discussed all issues related to fishermen, including their safety and security.

(d) Following the 2+2 initiative in November 2016, when the Foreign and Fisheries Ministers of the two countries met in New Delhi, a bilateral Joint Working Group (JWG) mechanism and meeting of the Ministers for Fisheries of the two countries was institutionalized to address the fishermen issues with Sri Lanka. At the 4th Round of the JWG in December 2020, the two governments discussed the entire gamut of issues related to fishermen. As a result of sustained diplomatic efforts, there are currently no Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody.

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