25 Indian fishermen, who were fishing in international waters, were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy along with their two trawlers, off Point Pedro town in Sri Lanka.
According to the Sri Lankan Navy, the fishermen were allegedly involved in ‘illegal poaching’ and were detained after a special operation on Saturday night.
“The Navy continues to conduct regular patrols and operations in Sri Lankan waters to curb illegal fishing practices by foreign fishing trawlers, taking into account the consequences of these practices on the livelihood of local fishermen and marine resources of the country,” the navy stated in an official press release.
The 25 fishermen belonged to Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district in Puducherry.
The apprehended fishermen were brought to the Kankasanthurai harbour and they will be handed over to the Mailadi Fisheries Inspector for further legal action.
The relatives of the fishermen have expressed their concern about the incident and have requested both central and state governments to rescue them and their two lifeboats.
Last month, 27 Indian fishermen were released by the Sri Lankan authorities. They returned to the Chennai airport on separate days in sets of 12 and 15.
Earlier in October, a total of 64 fishermen who belong to Rameshwaram and Mandapam were arrested in three separate arrests by the Sri Lankan navy, allegedly for cross-border fishing along with their boats and fishing nets.
A total of 33 Indian trawlers and 220 Indian fishermen have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in 2023 till now, the statement added.
Notably, the arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has been a concerning issue for both Tamil Nadu government as well as the BJP-led central government.
In October, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, highlighting the issue of repeated arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.
He also reiterated the demand to protect the traditional fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Bay region.
The issue was also discussed during the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe during the latter’s visit to July this year.
“Today we also discussed the issues related to the livelihood of fishermen. We agree that we should proceed with a humane approach in this matter,” the official statement by PM Modi after the meeting read.