Barely a day after Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa returned to Sri Lanka after meeting with representatives of the Tamil Nadu fishing community in New Delhi, 21 fishermen were detained and their five boats seized by the island nation’s navy on Saturday evening.
According to sources, the Fisheries Department on Saturday issued 734 tokens to the fishermen at Rameswaram. However, 21 fishermen, including 13 from Mandapam while fishing mid-sea, were surrounded by the Sri Lankan Navy and detained.
The sources added that the detained fishermen were later taken to Talaimannar and placed under custody. The detention caused panic among the fishing community, the sources said.
Meanwhile, fishermen leaders Devadas and Jesuraja reached the Sri Lankan embassy in New Delhi and sent a fax to Basil Rajapaksa informing him about the fresh detention of 21 Indian fishermen and urged him to expedite their release.
This is the fourth time that Indian fishermen have been taken into custody by the Lankan Navy after the 45-day fishing ban ended on June 1. On June 5, 24 fishermen were arrested and on the very next day, another 25 fishermen were detained. On June 15, another eight fishermen were arrested by the Lankan Navy. All the detainees were kept in different prisons.
However, 49 of the detained fishermen were released recently and they reached Indian shores on their boats.