They have been taken to Kangesan port for interrogation

Twenty-two fishermen from two coastal villages of Pudukottai district are reported to have been arrested mid-sea by the Sri Lankan Navy in the early hours of Sunday.

The fishermen had left by six boats, five of which were from Kottaipattinam and one from Jegadapattinam, on Saturday. They were scheduled to return by Sunday, official sources said here.

Officials identified the arrested as Sathyapriyan (23), Vijayendran (40) and Seeralan (45) from Jegadapattinam; and Rayappan (45), Murugesan (33), Sanjeevi (30), Santhanam (35), Naganathan (45), Nagalingam (47), Muthukamatchi (49), Karuppiah (38), Sathyendran (35), Nagalingam (50) Rangasamy (40), Rajendran (35), Sudhakar (41), Manikandan (20), Murugesan (36), Anjappan (38), Shahul (24), Mani (26) and Rawther (43) from Kottaipattinam.

The Sri Lankan Navy is also said to have seized the six boats, the fishermen’s nets, diesel and their catch.

They had been taken to Kangesan port for interrogation, official sources said.

This is the fifth incident of fishermen from the Pudukottai district being arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy since October.

So far, 99 fishermen from Jegadapattinam and Kottaipattinam had been arrested and all are in custody, the sources said.

PMK’s appeal to Centre

Staff Reporter from Chennai writes: The Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss on Sunday urged the Union government to order Sri Lanka to immediately release all Tamil Nadu fishermen from its custody and their boats.

He also criticised the Sri Lankan authorities for arresting 22 fishermen of Pudukottai who were said to be fishing in the Indian territorial waters.

He wanted the Centre to send out a strong message to Sri Lanka so that such incidents did not recur.

All India Samuthuva Makkal Katchi president R. Sarathkumar on Sunday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should take concrete steps to facilitate talks between fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.