25 Lankan Fishermen Arrested For Trespassing Into Indian Waters

Twenty five Sri Lankan fishermen have been arrested by the Indian Coast Guard at Karaikal in Puducherry, on charges of trespass and illegal fishing in Indian waters. They have been handed over to the Coastal Security Group of the Tamil Nadu police.

The agency has also seized five boats and 5,000 kilograms of fish from them. 

"The Sri Lankan fishermen were illegally fishing in Indian waters 48 nautical miles east of Velankanni. Our interrogation reveals they were doing this over the last two to three days," Udhal Singh, the Commandant of the Coast Guard in Karaikal,India, told NDTV.

Recently, India and Sri Lanka had released arrested fishermen from both countries ahead of the Indo-Lankan fishermen talks that were held in Chennai. The resolutions and recommendations of the meet are yet to be made public. The issue of arrests and use of banned nets figured in the meet, according to sources.

Sri Lanka often accuses Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu of deliberately trespassing into Lankan waters. An estimated 600 Indian fishermen from the state have been killed in firing by the Lankan navy.

But fishermen from the state and the Tamil Nadu government claim they have traditional rights to fish in the Palk Strait. 

Over the last few decades Lankan fishermen living on the coast facing India had suspended fishing as the stretch was largely under the control of the Liberation Tamil Tiger for Eelam (LTTE). But after their defeat, Lankan Tamil fishermen have resumed fishing and Lanka says trespass by Indian fishermen is ruining their livelihood.

A few years ago, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had also mooted the idea of a long lease with the Sri Lankan Government that would legally allow Indian fishermen to fish in Lankan waters. (NDTV)

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