Lankan attack on fishermen is aggression: Jaya

Chennai: Voicing concern over frequent attacks and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that it should be viewed as "an act of provocation and aggression" against India. In a strongly-worded letter to Singh, she said the attacks should be treated as a national issue and not an "isolated problem of Tamil Nadu alone".

Her Monday letter to Prime Minister comes days after she conveyed similar strong sentiments to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai when he called on her here ahead of his three-day visit to Lanka from Oct 8. Seeking the Prime Minister`s intervention to convey India`s serious objection to Colombo, she emphasised that the harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen "should be viewed as an act of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka, similar to acts of firing across the borders of India by neighbours such as Pakistan and China". Recalling Mathai`s visit, she said it was "distressing" to note that even before Mathai reached Colombo, the "Sri Lankan Navy again chased away our fishermen in the sea by firing in the air, off Mandapam coast of Ramanathapuram District".

"I brought the various incidents of attacks and harassment to Mathai`s notice and requested him to take up the above issues with the Government of Sri Lanka who, on the one hand were participating in various Indo-Sri Lanka Meetings in order to resolve the problems and on the other were resorting to violence against our fishermen," she wondered.