Sri Lanka hands over bodies of four Indian fishermen

Sri Lanka today handed over the bodies of four Indian fishermen to the Indian Coast Guard at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

India had earlier issued a strong demarche to Sri Lanka over the death of the Indian fishermen following an incident involving the Sri Lanka Navy.

Subsequent to the legal proceedings initiated by the Magistrate Court of Mallakam, the four bodies were formally handed over to the Consulate General Office of India in Jaffna.

On a request made by the Consulate General Office, the Sri Lanka Navy assisted to hand over the bodies to India.

The bodies were transferred by a Sri Lanka Coast Guard craft and handed them over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Atulya at the IMBL today.

In a statement issued earlier, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said that India was shocked at the unfortunate loss of lives of three Indian fishermen and one Sri Lankan national following a collision between an Indian vessel and a Sri Lankan naval craft.

India said that its strong protest in regard to this incident was conveyed by India’s High Commissioner in Colombo to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister.

A strong demarche was also made to the Sri Lankan Acting High Commissioner in New Delhi.

“Expressing our deep anguish at the loss of lives, we emphasized the need to deal with issues pertaining to fishermen in a humanitarian manner. Existing understandings between the two Governments in that regard must be strictly observed. Utmost efforts should be made to ensure that there is no recurrence,” the Indian External Affairs Ministry said.

The Sri Lanka Navy had on Wednesday recovered the bodies of two Indian fishermen who were killed after their boat sank following am incident involving the Navy and Indian fishing boats.

The Navy said that diving teams engaged in a search and rescue operation recovered the two bodies after the boat sank northwest of Delft Island on Monday.

The Sri Lanka Navy had said that the Indian trawler sank after resisting arrest northwest of the Delft Island.

The Navy said that more than 50 Indian trawlers were seen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and entering Sri Lankan waters.

When attempts were made to seize the boats one Indian fishing trawler resisted arrest and collided with a Nay boat, the Sri Lanka Navy said.

The Navy said that the Indian boat sank at sea having lost its stability.

The collision also caused damage to the Navy Fast Attack Craft which was brought to the Kankesanthurai harbour for repairs. (Colombo Gazette)