Sri Lanka releases 22 Rameswaram fishermen within a day of arrest
The fishermen returned to India on Sunday, following which the delegation of fishermen met Sitharaman and expressed their gratitude to her.
RAMANATHAPURAM: Just a day after their arrest, as many as 22 Rameswaram fishermen were released by the Sri Lankan government on Sunday following the intervention of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
According to sources, the fishers, hailing from Pamban area, were arrested and two of their boats seized by Sri Lankan Navy for alleged violation of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) on Saturday.
A delegation of fishermen met Nirmala Sitharaman, who was on a visit to Rameswaram to attend the PM SVANidhi credit outreach programme.
They requested her to initiate steps for the release of the arrested fishermen, who had to stay put in international waters due to the adverse climatic conditions. Later, the minister spoke to the Ministry of External Affairs and High Commission of India in Sri Lanka for their release. The fishermen returned to India on Sunday, following which the delegation of fishermen met Sitharaman and expressed their gratitude to her.
SP Rayappan, president of country boat fishermen association in Pamban, said the the order of the release by the Sri Lankan government came within hours of their request to the minister. “We got to know about her visit to Rameswaram on Saturday. The fishermen delegation got an appointment and met her around 9 pm. Initially, we were apprehensive about the authenticity of the release order as such an instance within such a short time was unheard of. Around 12.30 am, we got a call from one of the 22 fishermen stating that all of them are heading towards India. I thank the union government and minister Nirmala Sitharaman for their swift action,” he said, adding that the fishermen reached home around 12:30 pm on Sunday.