New Delhi [India]: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently flagged India’s concerns over the detention of fishermen with the Government of Sri Lanka.
“The fishermen matter was raised in each meeting of the Prime Minister Modi with Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister. Same has resulted in the release of 42 boats and 251 fishermen,” Swaraj told members of the Rajya Sabha today.
Communist Party of India leader and Rajya Sabha member of Tamil Nadu D. Raja questioned Swaraj as to what measures the government is taking to release Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.
He also asked the number of fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.
“Whether it is fact that Sri Lankan Navy continues to arrest Indian fishermen and they have lately arrested fishermen from Mandapam and confiscated their two trawlers on charges of engaging in bottom trawling. What is the number of fishermen and trawlers in their custody and what measures are being taken to get them released,” he asked Swaraj.
Last month, at least seven Indian fishermen were reportedly arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy for trespassing Sri Lankan waters.
The fishermen from Mandapam near Rameswaram were fishing at Neduntheevu Island in the Palk Straits, close to the island nation’s coast.
Two Fast Attack Craft belonging to the Northern Naval Command arrested seven Indian fishermen along with two fishing trawlers for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and engaged in bottom trawling in Sri Lankan territorial waters about 12.5 Nm and 9.5 Nm off Northwest of Delft Island on July, 12, Columbo page quoted the navy website.
Sri Lanka recently passed a bill that allows the authorities to imprison bottom-trawling fishermen for two years and fine of Rs. 50,000. (ANI)