Sri Lankan authorities free 40 Indian fishermen

fishermen_indian_fish_reuteSri Lankan courts today ordered the release of 40 Indian fishermen, who have been detained in the island nation for the last two months on charges of trespassing into that country’s territorial waters, the Times of India reported.

On June 1, the Sri Lankan navy detained 14 fishermen from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and their three boats. As many as 26 other fishermen from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Karaikal in the Union territory of Puducherry were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy on June 21. They were produced before Lankan courts and were lodged in prisons.

The 14 Rameswaram fishermen were produced before a Mannar court today which ordered their release. The rest were produced before a Point Pedro court, and it ordered their release.

“All of our fishermen were released by Sri Lankan courts, and we anticipate that they may reach their homes towns on Tuesday,” said U Arulanandam of the Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen.

However, the court has not mentioned anything on the boats captured from these fishermen. Altogether six boats have been confiscated after the fishing season started in June 1.

In March, the Sri Lankan navy confiscated five fishing boats from Rameswaram. However, the fishermen on those boats were released later.

“We express our gratitude to state and central governments for releasing our fishermen, but boats are not released. Without boats, our livelihood is crippled,” said district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association B Jesuraja. (Colombo Gazette)