INDIA URGES SRI LANKA TO RELEASE 23 TAMIL NADU FISHERMEN ON HUMANITARIAN GROUNDS
Onlanka News – by Walter Jayawardhana
Keeping away from the arrogant stance of the Tamil Nadu government of Jayalalitha New Delhi urged Sri Lanka to release on humanitarian grounds 23 Tamil Nadu fishermen , arrested on charges of entering Sri Lankan waters.
“External affairs minister S M Krishna urged the Sri Lankan government to release the fishermen, who were also accused of ramming into Lankan naval ships, on humanitarian basis immediately, official sources said”,the Times of India reported.
Sri Lanka Navy arrested 23 Tamil Nadu fishermen when they were fishing off Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits,reports in Chennai said.
In Sri Lanka, Naval spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya had said that the fishermen were arrested off the coast of Talaimannar for poaching and causing damages to the fishing gear of the Sri Lankan counterparts.
Katchatheevu, an islet, was ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. Earlier on July one, ten fishermen from Tamil Nadu were taken into custody by the Lankan Navy for reportedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in their waters but were subsequently ordered to be released by a Mannar court. Following their arrest, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing concern over “unrelenting, harsh attitude of the Sri Lankan Navy” towards Indian fishermen.
She had also sought the Centre’s intervention in securing the release of those arrested by the island republic’s navy.
Meanwhile the Hindu reported : “The Union Government is expecting that a batch of Indian fishermen, detained by the Sri Lankan authorities, will be released early following a flurry of diplomatic activity between the two governments.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has asked the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo to take up the issue of arrested Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka, said official sources in the Ministry of External Affairs.”