With the Indian government enabling shipping of food and essential items to Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin has urged the Centre to allow his state too to send such items to areas where Tamils reside there.
Stalin, in a letter to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, said: “It has now been reported that the Union Government has enabled the shipping of food and other essential commodities to Sri Lanka.
“At this juncture, I would like to reiterate the commitment of my Government to ship the essential supplies including food grain, vegetables and medicines etc., from Thoothukudi port to the Sri Lankan Tamils living in Northern and Eastern Parts of Sri Lanka and Colombo, as well as those working in the plantations who are reeling under severe food crisis. I request that this may be facilitated at the earliest in view of the worsening situation in Sri Lanka.”
According to the state government, 39 Sri Lankans belonging to 13 families have reached Tamil Nadu till date due to the severe economic crisis in the island nation.
Already 58,547 persons belonging to 19,223 Sri Lankan families are housed in different camps in the state, the government said.
Meanwhile, Stalin also drew Jaishankar’s attention to the arrest of 12 Indian fishermen on March 23 by the Sri Lankan Navy.
According to Stalin, the local court in Sri Lanka has tried the case and adjourned it to May 12 with the instructions that the fishermen could be released on bail on a personal bond of (Sri Lankan) Rs 2 crore per person.
“As this is a prohibitive amount, the fishermen can never furnish the same. They are presently lodged in the Jaffna prison,” Stalin said.
He also requested Jaishankar to ensure all legal support and assistance to the poor fishermen for enabling their early release.