Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has granted Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of five fishermen who are languishing in a Colombo jail for over a year.

According to an official release, the fishermen from Rameswaram were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy along with their boat on charges of smuggling drugs in November 2011. A case was filed and they were produced before a Jaffna court.

Fishermen in Rameswaram had sought the Chief Minister’s intervention claiming that those arrested were innocent and were being implicated in false cases.

Ms. Jayalalithaa had granted Rs. 2 lakh to the ‘Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen Trust’ to engage a Sri Lankan lawyer and argue for their release last year. A bail petition was filed this March but a June verdict denied them bail and confined them to the prison.

On learning about the difficulties faced by the families of these fishermen, the Chief Minister had ordered a monthly assistance of Rs 7,500 for each family from August. Considering their economic status, she granted Rs. 2 lakh each to the five families on Thursday, the release said.

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