National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon called on Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at her residence here on Thursday evening for a discussion prior to his visit to Sri Lanka for bilateral talks.
During her discussions with the NSA, the Chief Minister raised the problems faced by Tamil Nadu fishermen as well as rehabilitation and political issues concerning Sri Lankan Tamils.
Ms. Jayalalithaa expressed concern over attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen in the vicinity of Kachatheevu and said past assurances that they would not recur were not being honoured. She called for an end to attacks on fishermen by Sri Lankan security forces, according to an official release. She also stressed the need to restore to the fishermen, the rights they enjoyed in the past in the vicinity of the island.
The Chief Minister drew Mr. Menon’s attention to the conflicting pieces of information from different quarters on the precise number of people internally displaced during the Sri Lankan war, the number of people made to reside in camps, the number of those rehabilitated and those who were still lodged in such camps.
She emphasised that precise details should be gathered, the release said.
Ms. Jayalalithaa sought the complete rehabilitation of all Tamils through resettlement in their original places of habitation. On the political side, Tamils in the island should be accorded equal status and rights as the Sinhalese.
The Chief Minister also asked the NSA to take speedy action to obtain the release of four fishermen from Rameswaram, whose boats were buffeted by strong winds towards Nainatheevu, an island off the Jaffna peninsula. They have been remanded by a court in Kankesanthurai.
Mr. Menon assured Ms. Jayalalithaa that he would draw the attention of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to all these matters.
Further, on his way back from Colombo to New Delhi, he would meet her again to apprise her of the details of his talks in Sri Lanka.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi during the discussions.
The meeting came a day after Ms. Jayalalithaa piloted a resolution in the State Assembly seeking declaration of Sri Lankan leaders responsible for civilian deaths in the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as ‘war criminals’ and demanding the imposition of economic sanctions on the island nation until it offered equal status to minority Tamils.
Mr. Menon will be accompanied on his visit to the island by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar. The delegation is expected to hold talks with Sri Lankan leaders on a number of issues, including the need for a political solution to the Tamil question, rehabilitation of those displaced by the war and the status of Indian rehabilitation and development projects in the country.
Airport sources said that the three-member delegation would leave for Colombo from here on Friday. Hindu