Six Indian fishermen detained by Sri Lankan Navy; second incident within a week

Public TV English
4 Min Read

COLOMBO: As many as six Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who were fishing in international waters, were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy along with their trawler, near the Kankesanthurai area in Sri Lanka.

According to the Sri Lankan Navy, the fishermen were allegedly involved in ‘illegal poaching’ and were detained off the Kovilan Lighthouse in Kareinagar after a special operation on Wednesday.

“The Navy continues to conduct regular patrols and operations in Sri Lankan waters to curb illegal fishing practices by foreign fishing trawlers, taking into account the consequences of these practices on the livelihood of local fishermen and marine resources of the country”, a release stated.

The six fishermen belong to Pudukkottai district in Tamil Nadu. Out of the six, five fishermen have been identified — Naresh (27), Anandababu (25), Ajay (24), Nandakumar (28) and Ajith (26). The sixth person has still not been identified.

The detained fishermen were brought to the Kankesanthurai harbour, and they will be handed over to the Mailadi Fisheries Inspector for further legal action, the Navy stated.

This episode has come just on the heels of another similar incident, where 25 fishermen — 12 from Tamil Nadu and 13 from Puducherry — were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy off Point Pedro town in Sri Lanka. Last month, 27 Indian fishermen were released by the Sri Lankan authorities. They returned to the Chennai airport on separate days in sets of 12 and 15.

Earlier in October, a total of 64 fishermen who belong to Rameshwaram and Mandapam, were arrested in three separate arrests by the Sri Lankan navy, allegedly for cross-border fishing along with their boats and fishing nets.

A total of 33 Indian trawlers and 220 Indian fishermen have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in 2023 till now, it had earlier said in a statement. Notably, the arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has been a concerning issue for both Tamil Nadu government as well as the BJP-led central government.

In October, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, highlighting the issue of repeated arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and reiterated the demand to protect the traditional fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Bay region.

After the recent detention of 12 fishermen, Tamil Nadu BJP President Annamalai also wrote to EAM Jaishankar and requested Jaishankar, seeking his intervention in the repatriation of 16 fishermen.

The issue was also discussed during the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe during the latter’s visit to July this year. “Today we also discussed the issues related to the livelihood of fishermen. We agree that we should proceed with a humane approach in this matter,” the official statement by PM Modi after the meeting read. (ANI)

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