Over 100 Indian fishermen are in Sri Lankan custody, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said.
Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that as per available information, as on 30 July, 2013, there are 114 Indian fishermen (along with 21 Indian fishing vessels) in the custody of Sri Lanka.
Besides this he said 14 Indian fishermen with 4 boats are in the custody of Sri Lanka on charges of smuggling narcotics and contraband.
“The Government attaches high importance to the welfare, safety and security of our fishermen. As soon as reports of apprehension of Indian fishermen are received, the Government has, through diplomatic channels, immediately and consistently taken up the matter for their expeditious release and repatriation with the Governments concerned. The matter has also been taken up during bilateral meetings at various levels,” he said.
Khurshid said that during the 4th meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries in January 2012 in Colombo, both sides reiterated the highest priority accorded by their respective Governments to the well being, safety and security of fishermen from the two countries. (Colombo Gazette)