India promises strong action to save fishermen arrested in Sri Lanka

Monday, 8 April 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

New Delhi:  India promised strong action to rescue the 26 Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy for trespassing into their territory.

On Friday (April 05), Sri Lankan naval forces arrested 26 fishermen and also seized five trawlers with them for trespassing into their territorial waters.

According to media reports, the fishermen were arrested off Kovilam point and were later taken to Kayts Island off Sri Lanka’s Jaffna peninsula where they were detained by the authorities.

Recent media reports have also pointed out that Sri Lankan authorities plan to release 19 Indian fishermen held in custody on March 13 earlier this year.

India’s junior minister for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), V. Narayanasamy said they would take every possible step to secure the release of the arrested fishermen.

“This has been happening continuously for the last several months. And this incident has provoked a lot of anxiety among the fishermen of the area. About 15 days back, the fishermen from Kanyakumari region were also arrested and 16 of them are still in jail. There is friction going on between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu because of the agitation by Tamil people in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils. In such a situation, when our fishermen are entangled in custody by the Sri Lankan Navy, I talked to out Indian High Commissioner there and requested him to immediately they should take steps for the purpose of the release of our fishermen who have been arrested in Karaikal region and also the Kanyakumari people who have been arrested,” he said.

Reacting over the incident, leader of the leftist Communist Party of India (CPI) D. Raja said the Congress ruling federal government has completely failed to protect the interests of the Indian fishermen.

“The government of India should treat them as Indian fishermen and government of India has a responsibility to protect the interests of the Indian fishermen. There I accuse the Congress led UPA II government as completely failed to protect our fishermen,” he said. Despite an agreement that seeks to expedite return of fishermen who stray into each other’s territory, the last few incidents of the arrest of the Indian fishermen point to Sri Lanka hardening its stance on Indian fishermen frisking into their waters.

The fishermen of both countries getting caught has been recurring frequently in the last few months.