Notwithstanding the Sri Lankan government ordering the release of all 82 Tamil Nadu fishermen, arrested on Saturday and Sunday, the Rameswaram fishermen have decided to continue their strike till the Sri Lankan authorities returned all confiscated boats.
Thanking the State and the Central governments for securing the release of fishermen in a short span of time, community leaders said this was a marked change after the Modi government assumed office at the Centre, but the confiscation of their trawlers was a cause of concern.
“We welcome the release of the fishermen, but it is a matter of regret that the Sri Lankan authorities have detained the boats, stifling the livelihood of the fishermen,” P. Sesu Raja, leader of a fishermen association, said.
They would go ahead with a rally and demonstration, covering their faces with black cloth on Wednesday to seek a permanent solution to their problem.
Meanwhile, sources said the Mandapam station of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is likely to repatriate on Wednesday 36 of 82 fishermen set free by the Kayts court on Tuesday.
U. Arulanandham, president of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), said 46 fishermen who were lodged in the Anuradhapuram prison, are likely to be set free by a Mannar court on Wednesday.
India could have set the stage for a good beginning in the new fishing season by releasing the 84 Sri Lankan fishermen, arrested by the ICG with their 19 boats, and presently lodged in prisons in Andhra Pradesh, Karanataka and Tamil Nadu.
The ICG had repatriated 13 Sri Lankan fishermen without their two trawlers last week, he pointed out.
“We can be justified in our demand for the release of the boats only if we are also flexible,” he said. (Source: The Hindu)