Nineteen of the 98 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and ordered to be released by the Lankan government were repatriated on Sunday.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) vessel Abheek received the fishermen with their four boats at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) after they were repatriated by the Lankan Navy on Sunday afternoon.
The ICG escorted the fishermen and handed them over to the Fisheries Department officials off the fishing jetty. The fishermen from the island, said after they were arrested on March 26, they were detained in Talaimannar naval camp for two days before they were taken to the court.
However, before the court remanded them in judicial custody, they were released, one of the released fishermen, Thangapandian (47) said. He said the Talaimannar police told them that the Lankan government ordered their release after India abstained from voting on the US-backed resolution against the island nation in the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Sources at the Mandapam station of the ICG said 58 more fishermen would be repatriated on Monday and would be taken to Karaikal.
These fishermen included 33 from Thanjavur district, four from Jagadapattinam, 16 from Karaikal and five from Rameswaram, U.Arulanandham, president of the Alliance for the Release of the Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), said.