Monday, 31 March 2014 00:00
Indian fishermen trawling near Katchatheevu were in for a big surprise on Sunday when Sri Lankan naval personnel not only allowed them to fish but also offered them soft drinks and sweets, the Press Trust of India reported.
Local fishermen Association leader Emerit said that the Sri Lankan naval personnel treated Indian fishermen with kindness and chatted with hundreds of them from various places including Ramanathapuram and Jagadapattinam, fishing in the Palk Strait.
Their friendly gesture has come close on the heels of the release of all fishermen from Tamil Nadu, lodged in Lankan prisons.
Local fishermen have in the past complained of attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy while fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.
Sri Lanka has often accused the Tamil Nadu fishermen of straying into their territorial waters, while the latter maintain they are only fishing in their traditional fishing grounds.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had on Friday ordered the release of all 98 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody for poaching a day after India abstained from voting on a US-backed UN resolution censuring Colombo on its human rights record.