Indian fishermen seek New Delhi’s intervention over arrests by Sri Lanka

Saturday, 27 February 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Fishermen began an indefinite strike in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state yesterday (26) demanding immediate release of fishermen and their boats confiscated by Sri Lanka.

The fishermen sought intervention of Indian Government in resolving the issue. The striking fishermen alleged that at least 28 Indian fishermen have been languishing in Sri Lankan jails and the Government has failed to secure their release.

“Till now, 28 fishermen have been arrested by Sri Lanka and are in jails for more than a year. Our 76 boats have also been confiscated. No attempt has been made either by the Central Government or the State Government to secure their release. That’s why we have gone on strike,” said President of Rameswaram Fishermen Association, N. Devadass, in Rameswaram city.

Sri Lanka has long fumed over poaching and illegal fishing by Indian fishermen that it says depletes the catches of its own fishermen. Last year, the relations between Sri Lanka and its neighbour took a hit as five Indian fishermen were sentenced to death by the island nation for drug trafficking. Prolonged diplomatic deliberations eventually led then President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pardon the fishermen. In November last year, as many as 126 Indian fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on the charges of poaching, were released.