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13 Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy; 3 boats seized

This is the sixth such incident after fishermen began going to the sea in mid-June after the end of the mandatory 61-day fishing ban in the east coast of Tamil Nadu.
Last Updated : 11 July 2024, 13:39 IST

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Chennai: As many as 13 Indian fishermen from Pudukkottai district in Tamil Nadu were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on Thursday for allegedly fishing in its water after crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in Palk Strait. 

Three boats in which the fishermen sailed have also been confiscated by the Sri Lankan Navy and have been taken along with the fishermen to Kankesanthurai Harbour in Jaffna, the capital city of the island nation’s northern province. 

The fishermen from Pudukkottai district set out on Wednesday night in three boats to fish and are believed to have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in Palk Bay area.

This is the sixth such incident after fishermen began going to the sea in mid-June after the end of the mandatory 61-day fishing ban in the east coast of Tamil Nadu. On July 1, as many as 25 fishermen from Ramanathapuram were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy. 

Arrest of Indian fishermen from Pudukkottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, and Ramanathapuram districts by the Sri Lankan Navy has been a recurring affair in the Palk Strait for the past few decades. The boats seized by the Sri Lankan Navy are nationalised, snatching livelihood from Indian fishermen.

The fishermen cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and step into Sri Lankan waters as the fish catch is abundant on the other side. But their Tamil counterparts in Sri Lanka’s northern region say the bottom trawlers used by Indian fishermen scrap the seabed, bringing ecological destruction. 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has been requesting External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to intervene in the issue and end the trend of arrests. 

The Ministry of External Affairs maintains that the government attaches the highest priority to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen and that the issue of fishermen has been taken up at the highest level. 

“Sri Lankan Government has been requested to treat the fishermen issue as a purely humanitarian and livelihood concern, and it has been stressed that both sides should ensure that there is no use of force under any circumstances,” the ministry had said last year. 

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Published 11 July 2024, 13:39 IST

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