A day after eight fishermen of Nagapattinam district were assaulted by the Lankan navy off the coast of Kodiyakarai, another mid-sea confrontation unfolded on Friday where as many as 46 fishermen detained by the Sri Lankan navy were brought back to the Karaikal Marg port after Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel intervened and held a series of talks with their Lankan counterparts.
Sources said, 46 fishermen in five boats from various hamlets in the district ventured in to sea on Thursday. While they were fishing in the sea off Kodiayakkarai coast, it is said that Lankan fishermen approached the spot and allegedly had an altercation with them claiming that they have violated the maritime boundaries.
On information Lankan navy reached the spot and detained the Indian fishermen for damaging a boat belonging to a Sri Lankan fisherman. Subsequently, the Indian fishermen in one of the detained boats contacted the ICG through their walkie-talkie and appealed for their help. The ICG personnel reached the spot and held a series of talks. Later, all the 46 detained fishermen were handed over to the ICG personnel by the SL navy.
Meanwhile, emotional scenes were witnessed at the Rameswaram jetty when 19 fishermen reached the jetty on Friday. Family memebrs were ecstatic, broke out in tears and hugged the fishermen, who had returned home after being incarcerated in the Lankan jail for nearly 30 days. On March 13, the Lankan navy whisked away 19 fishermen of Rameswaram while they were casting their net in the sea and handed them over to Mannar police. Then, the 19 fishermen were lodged in Vavunya prison for five days after being produced before the Mannar court.
Meanwhile, the government sent a letter to the Centre urging it to take steps for the speedy release of the Indian fishermen.
The Mannar court while ordering the release of the 19 fishermen on April 11, were handed over to the SL Navy on Thursday, who further handed over the fishermen to ICG at the IMBL who later escorted them to Rameswaram jetty.