Sri Lankan PM's remark on Indian fishermen amounts to a slap in the face of Modi, Karunanidhi says

CHENNAI: A few days after Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that Indian fishermen would be shot if they intruded into the Lankan waters, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday said the statement amounted to a slap in the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is scheduled to visit the island nation this week.

Condemning the remarks of Wickramasinghe, Karunanidhi said such comments would not help address the issue but would further complicate it.

"It is not proper for the Sri Lankan Prime Minister to give an interview amounting to a slap in the face of the Indian Prime Minister ahead of his goodwill tour. Such comments would not help solve the problem, but, instead, they would aggravate it," said Karunanidhi.

However, it was "heartening" to learn that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj wanted the issue to be dealt in a humanitarian way and not legally, he added.

Karunanidhi criticized Wickramasinghe for comparing the fishermen with thieves who break into a house. He said the fishermen could not identify the international boundary line in the mid-sea.

"Fishing is their source of livelihood, and I wonder if the law allows gunning them down," he said.

Karunanidhi said Modi should take up the issue during his visit to the island nation.

"Modi's agenda should not be confined to implementing the 13th amendment to the Lankan Constitution, an Indian initiative aimed at giving more powers to the provinces, but should also cover demilitarization of north and east, retrieving the Tamils' lands from the Sinhalese occupants and restoring the lands to them," the DMK chief said.

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