32 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, Karaikal held by Sri Lankan Navy repatriated

The fishermen who were arrested over the past two months for allegedly crossing the IMBL and fishing in Sri Lankan waters were under detention in the island country’s prisons.

Published: 07th April 2022 10:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2022 10:38 AM   |  A+A-

Puducherry Transport Minister S Chandira Priyanga meeting the fishermen who were repatriated from Sri Lanka, on Wednesday. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

Express News Service

NAGAPATTINAM: A total of 32 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Karaikal, who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy over the past two months for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), reunited with their families on Wednesday.

Emotions ran high when the repatriated fishermen were welcomed by their family members, relatives,  and other fisherfolk at their hometown. Of the fishermen who flew down to Chennai on Wednesday, 12 are from Nagapattinam, 12 from Ramanathapuram, four from Mayiladuthurai, and four from Karaikal.

The fishermen who were arrested over the past two months for allegedly crossing the IMBL and fishing in Sri Lankan waters were under detention in the island country’s prisons before its courts ordered their release.

Puducherry Transport Minister S Chandira Priyanga accompanied by Deputy Collector M Adharsh met the returnees at their houses in Karaikal.

The fishermen requested the minister to retrieve their boats that have been impounded and reportedly made assets by the Sri Lankan government.

Veeramani, a fisherman from Kottucherrimedu in Karaikal said, "The boats are our sources of livelihood. We are paralysed without them. We request the government to get them back."

To this, Minister Priyanga said, "Our Chief Minister N Rangasamy spoke to the ministry of external affairs and also reached out to the Sri Lankan government to secure their release as soon as possible. We understand that the livelihood of the fishermen remain affected. The CM has written a separate letter to the Union government to retrieve their boats as well. Our lieutenant governor has also spoken in this regard. We would write again on behalf of the Puducherry government next week and stress for the return of our boats."

Meanwhile, 40 other fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Karaikal who are yet to be repatriated from Sri Lanka are either under detention for reasons such as extension of remand or under isolation after contracting Covid-19.  An official from the fisheries department in Tamil Nadu said, "Those who have not yet returned are under isolation for Covid, and would return in the following repatriation batches over the following weeks."

As for those under detention over remand extension, officials said that the decision to release them lies with the Sri Lankan government.



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