Sri Lankan Navy arrests 16 Indian fishermen

Chennai: While Sri Lanka has been assuring India that they would not be troubling the Indian fishermen, the Tamil Nadu ‘Q’ branch police has said that 16 Indian fishermen from Rameswaram were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy at Deft island in the early hours of Tuesday.

According to a statement of the ‘Q’ branch police of Tamil Nadu, 16 fishermen and three boats were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy at 2 a.m.. The Sri Lankan Navy, according to the ‘Q’ branch had apprehended the fishermen from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu at the Delft Island or Neduntheevu in Northern Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Navy has slapped charges of crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) on the Indian fishermen, according to sources in the police.

Sixty-three Indian Fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested and remanded to judicial custody by the Sri Lankan Navy in December 2021, and 53 of these fishermen are still in an isolation centre of the Sri Lankan government after being released from prison.

The Sri Lankan Fisheries department has also advertised in newspapers in the Island nation on the auction of the Indian fishing boats seized some time back by the Sri Lankan authorities.

It may be noted that the Government of India had recently sanctioned a huge amount to the Sri Lankan government to support that country which was in a major debt crisis due to foreign exchange issues.

K. Jesudasan, a fishermen leader from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu while speaking to IANS said, “Sri Lankans are exceeding the limit and our fishers are voyaging into waters with much reluctance these days. The Government of India and the state government of Tamil Nadu must jointly bring a settlement to this issue.

“The Palk Straits are a small area and unintentionally, our fishermen cross over to the Sri Lankan waters. This need not be taken as a major issue and arrests and all are unwarranted. The Government of India is supporting the present Sri Lankan Government with all means and this leverage has to be taken diplomatically to bring an amicable settlement to the issues of our fishermen.”

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