COLOMBO: Sri Lanka today denied recent reports that its Naval personnel had attacked Tamil Nadu fishermen and damaged over 200 boats at the International Maritime Boundary Line in Palk Strait.
"The Sri Lanka Navy has categorically denied these allegations," the country's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement here.
It said that such "mischievous and fabricated allegations" directed at the Sri Lanka Navy were regretted at a time both Sri Lanka and India have "committed to address issues with a view to further strengthening of the relations between the two neighbouring nations".
On January 22, state fisheries officials quoting the fishermen had said nine fishermen onboard two of the 600 boats did not return to shore after they were allegedly surrounded by Sri Lankan Naval personnel and attacked with stones.
Sri Lanka-India Joint Working Group on fisheries met early this month to thrash out issues related to fishing.
Fishermen of both sides stray into each other's waters regularly in addition to Sri Lanka Navy coming under accusations of attacks against Indian fishermen.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who concluded a 4-day visit to Colombo on Saturday, had said the issue of fishermen was "an emotive issue and needs to be handled with care on both sides".