Karunanidhi calls for protection of fishermen, urges Delhi to assist Tamil refugees

[TamilNet, Friday, 21 December 2007, 08:59 GMT]
Tamilnadu Chief Minister Kalaignar Karunanidhi raised the issue of Indian fishermen being attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) in his speech at the Internal Security Meeting at New Delhi Thursday and appealed to the Indian Prime Minister to ensure that Tamil fishermen were protected by the Indian Navy without any kind of interference from the Sri Lankan forces. He also drew attention to the refugee influx in Tamilnadu due to escalating military oppression in Sri Lanka and requested the Indian Government to provide financial aid to ensure the smooth continuation of refugee rehabilitation activities.

DMK Chief M Karunanidhi
DMK Chief M Karunanidhi
The five-time Chief Minister also pointed out that the State Government was taking all steps to effectively curb the naxal menace in Tamilnadu. He said that the State had a separate 'Q' branch in the Intelligence set up to monitor the activities of extremist organizations. The constant vigil, effective intelligence and timely action kept the activities of naxalities, Maoists and other fundamentalist groups under check, he said, adding that even on Wednesday 5 Maoists were arrested by the State police, an indication how effectively and seriously the problem was being tackled.

In his speech before the Indian Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Chief Ministers of other states, Karunanidhi said that 19,500 families consisting of 73,00 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were now housed in 117 refugee settlements spread over 25 districts of Tamilnadu. He said that he had written to the Home Minister last month "to continue to reimburse the cash dole given to Tamil refugees by the State Government and also to continue with the supply of subsidized rice at 57 paise per kilogram beyond March 31, 2007. He added that a positive gesture by the Indian government would enable the State to efficiently carry out its refugee rehabilitation program.

Karunanidhi proceeded to highlight the "important issue" of "Indian fishermen being attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy." He noted that the number of such incidents was on the rise, this year alone 8 Tamilnadu fishermen were killed and 13 injured due to attacks from the SLN. He appealed to the Prime Minister that "fishermen from Tamilnadu must be allowed to operate within a clearly demarcated area with due protection of the Indian Navy without any interference by Sri Lankan authorities."


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