President orders release of TN fishermen to mark sitting of Indian Parliament

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:46 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the release of 78 fishermen that were arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy over the weekend, to mark the first joint sitting of the Indian Parliament. “On the occasion of the 1st joint sitting of Indian Parliament, I have instructed officials to release the 78 Indian fishermen in SL custody,” President Rajapaksa announced on his official Twitter account yesterday. “I look forward to the release of all remaining #SriLankan fishermen in #Indian custody at the earliest,” the President tweeted.  Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin ‏responded on Twitter saying the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo had been informed of President Rajapaksa’s decision to release the fishermen. India yesterday released 13 Sri Lankan fishermen in custody that were arrested by the Coastguard last week. This is the third time President Rajapaksa has released Indian fishermen caught poaching in Sri Lankan waters since March this year in multiple ‘goodwill gestures’. Sri Lanka released Indian fishermen in custody when India abstained from voting on the US led resolution on Sri Lanka and again when India elected Narendra Modi Prime Minister after the April-May elections. The Palk Bay fishing crisis has become a major bilateral issue between the two countries, with Prime Minister Modi raising it with President Rajapaksa when the two met for the first time after the former was sworn in to office. Talks between fishermen from the two countries have been deadlocked since their second meeting in May this year. (DB)