India hands over 16 fishermen to Sri Lanka

Thursday, 24 February 2011 00:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

India yesterday handed over a batch of Sri Lankan fishermen, who had been subjected to legal proceedings in India for allegedly straying into its waters while fishing in the International Maritime Border, to Sri Lankan authorities Fisheries Ministry officials said.

Narendra Rajapaksa, a senior Fisheries Ministry official, said the 16 fishermen in three trawlers were handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy. Their jail terms ended on 31 January, 2011.

India had earlier released 94 Sri Lankan fishermen and 21 boats.

Fishermen of both nations straying into each other's waters have been a major issue between the two South Asian neighbours.

India had in January accused the Sri Lankan Navy of firing at Indian fishermen and killing two of them in two separate incidents.

Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa dismissed suggestions that Sri Lanka and India are currently involved in a spat over the fishermen issue.