Another 34 Indians arrested

The navy arrested another 34 Indian fishermen for entering Sri Lankan waters illegally this morning, a navy spokesman said.

The arrest came within hours after the navy had arrested 19 Indians and seized their boats inside Sri Lankan waters.

Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that the 34 Indians were arrested off the Delft islands this morning.

He said that 5 boats used by the fishermen when they entered Sri Lankan waters were also seized.

The navy had arrested 19 Indian fishermen last evening for entering Sri Lankan waters illegally.

Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that the fishermen had crossed the international maritime boundary line off Mannar.

He said the Indians had come on four fishing boats and that they have been handed over to the police for further investigations.

Earlier this week sixteen fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan Naval personnel for allegedly fishing in the island nation’s international maritime boundary on March 3, were released.

The fishermen had been released following efforts taken by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who twice wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging the Centre to ensure their release.

Indian Defence Minister AK Antony had said in a statement this week that the Indian Government has been consistently taking up the issue of Indians crossing into Sri Lankan waters with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that the Sri Lankan Navy acts with restraint and Indian fishermen found near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) are treated in a humane manner.

“In order to avoid recurrence of incidents involving our fishermen and keeping in mind the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of fishermen issues, Government has reached an understanding with the Government of Sri Lanka in October, 2008, to put in place practical arrangements to deal with bonafide Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL),” he said.

Antony said that as part of these arrangements, it has been agreed that there would be no firing on Indian fishing vessels and that Indian fishing vessels would not enter the sensitive areas designated by the Government of Sri Lanka along its coastline. (Colombo Gazette)