The family members of fishermen, who continued a fast for the second day on Saturday demanding the State and Central governments to secure the release of five fishermen of Rameswaram from Sri Lanka, suspended the agitation following assurances from the authorities.
Though the protestors were given permission by the authorities to observe fast only for a day on Friday, a section of fishermen along with their family members continued the relay fast on Saturday also. However, they chose to observe it in a community hall at Thangatchimadam instead of public places. When the officials held negotiations in the morning to give up the fast, they showed reluctance stating that they would withdraw the agitation only when the fishermen were released from Sri Lanka. They accused Sri Lankan authorities of fabricating a smuggling case against innocent fishermen. Later, the revenue and police officials held a second round of negotiations after establishing contact with the top officials.
U. Arulanandam, State representative, Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen, quoting a senior official of the Consular General office in Sri Lanka, told them that the Indian High Commission officials had taken sincere efforts to secure the five fishermen when they were produced before a court in Sri Lanka on Monday.
Based on the assurance the protestors gave up the agitation in the evening. The five fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in November on charges of “smuggling”, which was vehemently opposed by the fishermen community in Rameswaram. (Source: The Hindu)