India is trying to establish a new mechanism which will enable early release of fishermen, especially those from Tamil Nadu who inadvertently enter Sri Lankan waters and are detained or arrested.

“We are trying to do… create a mechanism… for those Indian fishermen who stray inadvertently into Sri Lankan waters,” Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami said during the monthly press interaction of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in New Delhi on Thursday.

“The new mechanism shall be in line with what we have with Pakistan where we notify the counterparts and ensure early release of our people,” he said.

Mr. Shinde said such incidents have been happening for a long time and a new protocol in this regard will help in bringing down instances of long detention or arrest of fishermen especially from Tamil Nadu by Sri Lankan forces.

Mr. Goswami said with such operating procedures in place with Pakistan, India has been able to ensure quick release of its fishermen and the gesture is returned promptly when some Pakistani fishermen are apprehended by Indian maritime security patrols.

Coastal security scheme

Mr. Shinde, during the interaction, also said all States, including Gujarat would be asked to expedite the implementation of the centrally-funded ‘Coastal Security Scheme’.

“We advise those states who are slow in implementing the scheme to gather pace. We will tell all states to take immediate action as coastal security is very important,” he said.

Categorising Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Sunderbans in West Bengal as vulnerable coastal and sea points in the country, Mr. Shinde said his Ministry will surely talk to these states to speed up the on-ground implementation of this scheme.