The fishermen issue between India and Sri Lanka has again surfaced after the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 10 Indian fishermen on charges of alleged poaching, on Monday (August 22). As the fishermen belong to the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the state’s chief minister has sought the intervention of India’s external affairs minister on this issue.
Chief minister MK Stalin wrote to Dr S Jaishankar, pointing out that Sri Lanka has seized 94 fishing boats from Tamil Nadu and has recently arrested 10 fishermen hailing from the state.
This letter emphasized that the latest arrest of Indian fishermen is the fifth such instance since June and that these incidents continue unabated, intimidate the fishermen and hamper their livelihoods. In addition to the release of the fishermen, Stalin also mentioned that the boat owners be exempt from in-person appearances in a Lankan court.
“The apprehended Tamil Nadu fishermen were released on the condition that the owner of the boat should appear before the Sri Lankan court in person to claim the ownership of the boat. This is however not feasible considering the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka and therefore exemption from personal appearance may be sought for the boat owners,” the letter mentioned.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s navy maintains that the Indian trawler was poaching in their waters, off Mullativu, via the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). Their statement mentioned that the 10 Indian fishermen were being taken to the Trincomalee harbour and that they would be handed over to the Fisheries Inspector of Trincomalee for legal action.
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