55 released Indian fishermen lodged in Jaffna marriage hall

55 released Indian fishermen lodged in Jaffna marriage hall

 Fifty five Indian fishermen have been released from prison in Sri Lanka out of a total of 104 which the island nation had decided to free as a goodwill gesture ahead of Pongal festival.

"The other fishermen will be produced in court at Mannar and Trincomalee on January 18," Mannar district fishermen's association president Manoharan told PTI over phone.
To a question, he said he was not aware of the exact date when they would be brought back to India. The 55 Indian fishermen are now lodged in a marriage hall in Jaffna.

The Sri Lankan government, in a goodwill gesture ahead of Pongal festival, had yesterday decided to release 104 Indian fishermen arrested by the island nation's navy for allegedly poaching in the country's territorial waters.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources there had said that the letter of recommendation for their release has been sent to the President by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government in a release in Chennai, had said that of the 104 fishermen hailing from Nagappatinam, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram, 55 were released by Sri Lankan courts and handed over to Indian consulate officials in Jaffna.

It had said that the other fishermen would be released over the next two days, it said.
The release also said that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had issued orders to government authorities to take all steps to safely bring back the fishermen to the state.
The fishermen issue continues to be a major irritant in Indo-Lanka ties.

Sri Lanka accuses Indian fishermen of straying into its territorial waters, while the latter maintain they are only fishing in their traditional areas, especially around Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Colombo in 1974.

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