If Tamil Nadu politicians care for Sri Lankan Tamils as much as they claim to, how come they deprive Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen being the worst-hit in the illegal poaching by Tamil Nadu fishermen?
This question has been raised by a Tamil Journalist named Meera Srinivasan from the Indian daily Hindu after undertaking a reporting mission to the Northern Province. She narrates her eye witness account of a haunting scene in which an army of Indian trawlers charging towards the shores of Analaitivu, a small island in the northern tip of Sri Lanka. She says that the Tamil Nadu fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters interfere with the livelihood of Sri Lankan Tamils struggling to make a living from the sea after a brutal war.
She points out that satellite images have, beyond doubt, established that Indian fishermen frequently cross the agreed-upon International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) that defines the two nations' respective fishing zones on either side of it.
Meera Srinivasan condemn the Tamil Nadu politicians passionately arguing in defence of their fishermen, usually on three major grounds: that the fishermen erroneously stray into Sri Lankan waters without intending to; that it would take time to deter fishermen away from a zone where they traditionally held fishing rights; and that it is, at the end of the day, about their livelihood.
She emphasizes that the argument that the fishermen naively stray into Sri Lankan territory falls flat, for, virtually all the trawlers found trespassing are equipped with GPS monitors that would clearly indicate where they are headed.
She also states that even if Indian fishermen traditionally held fishing rights across the Palk Strait earlier - they had the zone virtually to themselves during Sri Lanka's 30-year civil war that ended in 2009 - four years is not too short a time to change their course.
Ms. Srinivasan also condemns The Tamil Nadu government and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, for not taking in the last few years any serious measures to deter its fishermen from poaching in Sri Lankan waters.