NAGAPATTINAM/KARAIKAL: As many as 43 fishermen hailing from various coastal hamlets of Nagapattinam and Karaikal in five mechanised boats were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy allegedly for trespassing into Lankan waters on Tuesday evening.
The arrest coincides with the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh to offer prayers at the Tirumala temple. Fishermen representatives have condemned the arrest and urged the Union government to immediately rescue the fishermen and their boats.
According to fisheries officials, 43 fishermen in five mechanised boats including 29 fishermen from
Karaikal in three mechanised boats, and 14 fishermen from Nagapattinam in two mechanised boats were reported to be detained by the Sri Lankan navy near Kankesanthurai waters on Tuesday evening.
Information on the arrest was passed on by fellow fishermen who had noticed the Sri Lankan navy personnel taking away the 43 fishermen and their boats near Kankesanthurai waters.
“We have confirmed the arrest of our colleagues. As the arrest had taken place during the Sri Lankan President’s visit here, we consider the arrest as a failure of the BJP-led Union Government to handle the fishermen issue boldly,” Thiruvalarselvan, Akkaraipettai fishermen representative, told Express.
Fisheries officials identified the boat owners as Selliappan and Sathish, both hailing from Akkaraipettai fishing hamlet in Nagapattinam district.
Two other fishing boats, one owned by Sivakumar of Kottucherry and the other owned by Maniyan of Kasukudi, were also detained.
Sources said these boats had left for sea from their respective hamlets only on Tuesday morning.
With already 82 boats held under the custody of Sri Lankan government, the Nagapattinam and Karaikal fishermen have urged both the State and Central governments to take steps to rescue the 14 Nagapattinam and 29 Karaikal fishermen along with their five mechanised boats at the earliest.