NAGAPATTINAM: The Sri Lankan court on Thursday extended the judicial custody of 23 fishermen from Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai to another 15 days. The news brought disappointment to the family members of the fishermen awaiting their release.
The Sri Lankan Navy had arrested all of them in southeast of Kodiyakarai on October 13 for reportedly crossing International Maritime Border Line (IMBL). The fishermen are currently kept in the naval base in Karainagar, instead of being prisoned due to pandemic reasons, said sources in Sri Lanka.
On Thursday, a court in Point Pedro (‘Paruthithurai’) in the Jaffna district in Sri Lanka extended their remand till November 11. E Manivannan, brother of E Sivanesan from Akkaraipettai who is detained, said, “We had high hopes that my brother would be back by Deepavali. Many fishermen are sole breadwinners of their family and their future is at stake now. The news of the extension of remand is depressing.”
Following their requests, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had earlier on October 15 written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the matter. He had requested to insist the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities and release the arrested fishers and their vessels by holding talks ‘amicably’ and ‘decisively’.
RMP Rajendra Nattar, a fisher representative from Keechankuppam in Akkaraiepttai, said, “We wonder if the Union government is turning a blind eye to the plight of fishermen detained in another country. We request the Chief Minister to put more pressure on the Union government.”