Indian authorities have released 20 Sri Lankan fishermen who had been languishing in their jails for months after being arrested for illegal entry into Indian territorial waters and fishing in their coastlines.
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratna said, the fishermen will be brought to Sri Lanka within the next few days. The 20 fishermen and the 12 boats will be be brought back home following repatriation orders to be announced by Indian Foreign Affairs Ministry in New Delhi, sources at Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry said.
Of the twelve boats, ten had reportedly been seized from the seas off the Vishakhapatnam coastline. Six of them were taken into custody on December 8, last year, the other four were seized on March 9 this year, according to Fisheries Ministry sources. Two vessels were taken into custody on June 15 off the coast of Thuththukody they said.
The fishermen from Gandhara, Devinuwara, Kudawella, Negombo and Chilaw areas. Sri Lanka was able to get 50 local fishermen released on an early occasion . Their vessels were seized by the Indian Coast Guards for violating Indian maritime boundaries and for illegal fishing.
Their release was consequent to successful negotiations, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Senaratna had with the Indian Government. Thanking the Indian Government for arranging the release of the fishermen and their boats , Senaratna said, he plans to go to India next month to discuss problems affecting Sri Lankan fishermen.
Daily news online