The Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 12 more Indian fishermen and seized two fishing trawlers for allegedly poaching in the country's territorial waters, taking the number of Indians apprehended in the last two days to 55, an official statement said on Monday, December 20. The arrests were made in seas South of Mannar in the Sri Lankan waters on Sunday. It comes a day after the Navy arrested 43 Indian fishermen and seized six fishing trawlers in seas Southeast of the Delft Island in Jaffna.
The arrested fishermen have been lodged in the Kangesanthurai camp in Sri Lanka, according to a fisheries department official in Tamil Nadu. Upset over the reported arrests and the seizure of the boats, the fishermen associations will hold protests across the state on Monday.
A Tamil Nadu fisheries department official while speaking to IANS said, "Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu are regularly attacked by the Sri Lankan Naval personnel and recently a fisherman from Ramanathapuram, Rajkiran (30) lost his life after the Sri Lankan Navy attacked the Indian fishing vessel.
As part of the Navy's effort to prevent poaching by Indian fishing trawlers in Sri Lankan territorial waters, the Navy managed to take hold of 8 Indian fishing trawlers and 55 Indian fishermen during operations conducted by the Northern and North Central Naval Commands on 18th and 19th December, the Navy said in a statement.
The operations were carried out adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
Arrangements are being made to hand them over to relevant authorities for legal action after Rapid Antigen Tests of the apprehended Indian fishermen the statement said.
Political parties of Tamil Nadu have already contacted the Union Government and have requested to immediately speak to the Sri Lankan authorities for the release of fishermen from Tamil Nadu. The Union minister of state for fisheries, L. Murugan, who hails from Tamil Nadu has already commenced discussions with the higher officials of the Government of India.
Fishermen from both countries are arrested frequently for inadvertently trespassing into each other's waters. The fishermen issue has become a major irritant in bilateral ties.
With PTI, IANS inputs