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19 Indian fisherman arrested, two boats seized by Sri Lankan Navy

Colombo: The Sri Lankan Navy on Saturday confirmed that it had arrested 19 Indian fishermen and seized two of their boats near Yazhpanam in the Jaffna Peninsula area.

Saturday’s arrests came eight days after the arrest of seven Indian fishermen.

Meanwhile, in a separate, though related development, Sri Lanka’s Opposition in parliament has called on the governments of India and Sri Lanka to hold joint naval patrols to prevent fishermen from poaching in each other’s waters.

Sri Lanka’s main opposition leader R. Sampanthan was quoted, as saying during a debate in parliament on Friday that incursions by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters and vice-versa was a pressing issue between the two nations that needed to be addressed amicably.

“This is a matter that raises hostilities between the people of the two countries. Therefore, I urge the government of Sri Lanka to take some action with the Indian government and Tamil Nadu state government,” Sampanthan was quoted by the Indian Express, as saying.
Sampanthan told parliament that India’s navy and the coastguard should work together with their Sri Lankan counterparts to patrol their international maritime border.

He said that there was a need not only for the navies of the two nations to patrol, but also their respective coast guard units to consider undertaking such an initiative to put a stop to this cross violation of territorial waters.

Fishermen violating each other’s territorial waters has become a thorny issue in the Indo-Lanka relations and all previous attempts have failed to amicably resolve the problem. (ANI)