Speaking at a rally from another replica of the Red Fort here, Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday held the UPA-led Central Government responsible for the arrests of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat fishermen by Sri Lanka and Pakistan and said that its apathy towards atrocities committed against Indians shows the government’s ‘inefficiency’.
“Our fishermen of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are arrested by neighbouring countries because of the inefficiency of the central government,” Modi said.
Modi also touched on the crimes by Italian marines committed against Indian fishermen along the Kerala coast, and said that he was appalled at the security measures adopted by the Centre.
“I am astounded that people from Italy can come and kill fishermen off the Kerala coast in this country of 1.2 billion people,” Modi said.
On August 29, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa appealed to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to take immediate steps through diplomatic channels to secure the release of all fishermen who are in Sri Lankan custody.
In a letter to Dr. Singh, Jayalalithaa said the Centre has to take positive and concrete steps to secure the early release of the 82 fishermen who are already in Lankan jails for months, besides the 35 arrested who were arrested in August.
Earlier, in August, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had said New Delhi remains engaged with Colombo to ensure that fishermen on both sides can continue to pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.
Khurshid, who made a statement in the Rajya Sabha regarding 'Repeated Attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy', in the Monsoon Session of Parliament said that the government attaches the highest importance to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen.
"In response to reports of incidents of attacks on Indian fishermen, the Government, through diplomatic channels, immediately takes up the matter issues relating to incidents of firing on or apprehension of our fishermen with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that the Sri Lankan Navy acts with restraint and our fishermen are treated in a humane and pragmatic manner," Khurshid said.