A delegation of fishermen representatives from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Thursday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to take steps to ensure release of Indian fishermen languishing in Pakistan and Sri Lankan jails.

According to M. Ilango, Convenor of the delegation, 280 fishermen from Gujarat were jailed in Pakistan, while 81 fishermen hailing from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are in various Sri Lankan prisons. Besides, 780 Indian boats have been impounded by Pakistan authorities, he told reporters.

He said the Prime Minister “has assured us to look into the issue and that the fishermen and the boats will be released.”

Mr. Ilango said the representatives urged the Centre to facilitate a meeting between fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu preferred the meeting in Chennai, though Sri Lanka wants the meeting to be convened in their country. However, when we met External Affairs Minister Salam Khurshid this week, he informed us that he would take up the issue with Lankan authorities to ensure that the meeting is organised in Chennai,” Mr. Ilango added.

In the backdrop of repeated attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan authorities, a meeting of fishermen representatives of both the countries is being planned to find an amicable solution over fishing in Palk Strait. It is likely to be held in December.

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