More Indian fishermen freed

Sri Lanka has released 49 fishermen belonging to Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, who were lodged in Anuradhapuram and Jaffna prisons. They were held by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 6 at Kayts Island, on charges of crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in their waters, the Times of India reported.

An official release said the persistent efforts of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa has helped secure the immediate release of fishermen. As many as 24 fishermen were released from Anuradhapuram prison on Tuesday, while another 25 from Jaffna prison were released on Wednesday. The fishermen are expected to reach Tamil Nadu shores in a day, the release said.

Jayalalithaa said she had written several letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the continuing instances of assault and abduction and illegal detention of fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu on the high seas by the Sri Lankan Navy. Despite her repeated protests, the Centre had taken no firm stance in the matter and exerted little or no diplomatic pressure on Lanka to bring about a permanent solution to the problem of harassment and arrests of innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu, she said.

Jayalalithaa also urged the Prime Minister to instruct the ministry of external affairs to summon the high commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and lodge Indian government’s strong protest against the latest act of “illegal and high-handed abduction” of such a large number of fishermen in Palk Bay by Lankan Navy, besides Indian diplomats in Colombo to secure the release of fishermen.

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