Members of local Fishermen’s Association on Friday met Sri Lankan Minister for Defence and Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum requesting him to direct his country’s Navalmen not to disturb them while fishing in the Palk Strait.
Devadass and Sesudass, representing the Association, appealed to Basil, the younger brother of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to give instructions to the Navy not to disturb them while fishing in the traditional areas and not arrest them.
They also requested him to release all the fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested by the Lankan Navy, the Association sources said here.
The Minister, according to the sources, told them that Sri Lankan fishermen were fishing in the area and he could not interfere. He, however, told them that he would arrange for their meeting with the President and they could air their grievance to him directly.
The fishermen association functionaries met the minister in the wake of incidents of Tamil fishermen being threatened and arrested by the Lankan Navy.
The fishermen also charged that the Navalmen caused damages to their fishing nets and boats.
Meanwhile, all the 49 fishermen from here, arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 5 while fishing near the Palk Straits and released by the island nation’s court a couple of days back, were handed over to Indian Coast Guard officials at the International Martime Boundary Line on Friday.
Eight fishermen, who were arrested on June 15, were still in Sri Lankan prison, the sources said.
Another group of 24 fishermen, released from Sri Lankan prison on July 2, reached Rameswaram shore in the wee hours of Friday. They said that they were treated well in the Lankan prison and some fishermen leaders of the island nation also came and met them.
The 24 fishermen, who were arrested by the Lankan Navy on June 5, were lodged in Anuradhapura prison. However, after their release they were placed under the custody of Lankan Navy at Thalaimannar.
Later they were moved from Thalaimannar at 2 pm on Thursday and handed over to the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) at the IMBL the same day in the evening. Owing to heavy wind, their arrival was delayed and they managed to reach the at the Mandapam Indian Coast Guard station only after 10 pm.
After completion of enquiry by the ICG, intelligence personnel and officials of the fisheries department, they reached at Rameswaram at 3 am on Friday.