RAMNAD/COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government on Monday released nine Rameswaram fishermen, who were detained by the Lankan navy on Sunday.
The fishermen — Cinnaian, Selvaraj, Tamilselvan, Malaisamy, Ramu, Rajamanickam, Packiya Joseph, Pandy and Mariappan — were stranded mid sea after their boats developed a snag and were detained by the Lankan navy personnel.
A release order was issued by the Lankan government on Monday, following which they were taken to the International Maritime Boundary Line, where the Indian Coast Guard personnel received them and their boats. They were handed over to the Fisheries Department after being brought to Mandapam.
It may be recalled that on November 28, the Lankan navy detained five Tamil Nadu fishermen, including Emerson and Prasath, on charges of trespassing. The fishermen were imprisoned and a narcotics case was slapped on them. The case is being heard at the Mallagam court near Colombo.
Attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen are recurring despite the Centre and the State voicing concern over the issue.
In a related development on Monday, the Sri Lankan navy has asked Tamil Nadu fishermen fishing around Katchativu to give details when making allegations of harassment, so that the veracity of the incidents can be checked and appropriate action is taken.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Lankan navy said that since all Lankan naval vessels and naval craft carried a pennant number, that number, along with the date, time and location of the alleged incident, should be given.
‘Categorically’ denying an Indian report that its personnel had prevented Tamil Nadu fishermen from fishing in the seas off Katchativu, the navy said that such allegations were being made without any proof.
It said that at the recently held talks between the Indian and Lankan maritime security forces on the International Maritime Boundary Line, the Lankan navy had told the Indian delegation that details such as the pennant number of the Lankan vessel, the date, time and location of the alleged incident should be given.
The navy release pointed out that on numerous occasions, the Lankan navy had come to the rescue of Indian fishermen in distress and provided them with assistance using its vessels and personnel. On January 22 too, it had rescued nine Indian fishermen onboard two trawlers, which had developed mechanical problems and were drifting in the seas north of Mannar. The two trawlers were towed to the Thalaimannar Naval Base and were being repaired by Lankan naval personnel.