Twenty-three Tamil Nadu fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on July 22 when they were fishing near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits, have been released, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said on Friday.
The Indian High Commission was making all arrangements for their return, Mr Krishna said at a joint press interaction with his Indonesian counterpart Marty M Natalegawa in Delhi.
Their release today came a day after India appealed to Sri Lanka to immediately set free the fishermen, who were also accused of ramming their boats into Lankan naval ships, on humanitarian grounds.
In Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, President of Innocent Fishermen’s Association, Arulanandam said that the fishermen, arrested on charges of entering the island nation’s waters, were brought to the court from Anurathapuram where they had been lodged in prison and judge Anthonipillai Jutesen ordered their release.
He said the fishermen were expected to arrive in Rameswaram either today or tomorrow.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing concern over “unrelenting, harsh attitude of the Sri Lankan Navy” towards Indian fishermen and sought the Centre’s intervention in securing the release of the arrested fishermen. (PTI)