31 TN fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy

Rameswaram (TN): In second such detention within a week, 31 Indian fishermen were today arrested by the Sri Lankan Naval personnel on the charge of fishing in the island nation’s waters, Tamil Nadu fisheries officials said.

The fishermen – 22 from Tuticorin and nine from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu – were taken into custody along with their three country boats and a mechanised vessel early this morning.

On March 3, eight fishermen were arrested and two boats seized on the charge of crossing the international maritime boundary line and fishing in Lankan territorial waters.

With today’s arrest, the number of Tamil Nadi fishermen in Sri Lankan custody has risen to 66.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had on March 3 shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention to release of 35 Indian fishermen and 73 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody and also sought steps to find a permanent solution to the recurring detentions.

Tuticorin Assistant Director of Fisheries Issac Jeyakumar said the fishermen from his district were fishing near Kalpity near Sri Lankan coast when they were arrested today.

Rameswaram Assistant Director of Fisheries Gopinathan said fishermen set out to sea in 641 boats this morning and many of them returned without good catch.

Nine of them were arrested while fishing near Thalaimannar, he said.

Sri Lankan navalmen also allegedly caused extensive damage to the fishing nets of some of the fishermen, he said, adding, they were accused of using a banned fishing net and poaching in Lankan waters.