Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday ordered the release of all Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody, ending the anxiety of Tamil Nadu fishermen who have been seeking their release.
“On the occasion of India’s Independence Day, President Rajapaksa orders the release of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody,” said a tweet from his official account.
The announcement — following which the 94 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody are to be released — does not speak of releasing the Indian trawlers in Sri Lanka’s custody.
The Sri Lankan President has, in similar “good gestures” earlier, released Indian fishermen in its custody as he did around his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi in May this year.
The Palk Bay conflict, affecting fishermen of India and Sri Lanka, continues to be a major challenge in Indo-Lanka bilateral ties. Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Rajitha Seneratne in July said Sri Lanka was waiting to hear from India on the next round of discussion among members of a joint committee set up with experts from both countries.