40 Indian fishermen released

A group of 40 Tamil Nadu fishermen, who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on December 04 while they were fishing in the Sri Lankan waters in the eastern sea, were released by the Trincomalee Magistrate today.

The Trincomalee magistrate has released them after ordering them not to enter the Sri Lankan waters again.

Earlier, India’s BJP demanded a meeting between Indian fishermen and the Sri Lanka Navy following the deaths of fishermen from Tamil Nadu in alleged attacks by the island nation's navy, indian media reported.

"Some time ago I heard two fishermen were killed by Sri Lankan navy, and recently I heard five fishermen were killed," said SushmaSwaraj, leader of the opposition in the LokSabha.

Minister of State for DefenceJitendra Singh promised to convene such a meeting soon but highlighted the need for Indian fishermen not to cross the international maritime boundary.

"The Indian and Sri Lankan maritime boundaries are close and are sometimes crossed," he said. "Indian fishermen cross the maritime boundary and come in the way of merchant ships."

He said the Joint Working Group between the two countries formed in 2004 to address the issue had met four times: in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012.
Tamil Nadu leaders have repeatedly accused the Sri Lankan navy of attacking and killing Indian fishermen in the sea, particularly after the end of the Tamil Tigers in 2009.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has accused the Congress-led central government of not doing enough to end the recurring killings.

Pix and tex by Amadoru Amarajeewa

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