Members of various fishermen associations staged a demonstration here on Friday, demanding the release of all Tamil Nadu fishermen lodged in Sri Lankan prisons along with their boats.

Led by N. J. Bose, president of the Rameswaram Port Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association, the agitators urged the Central and State governments to take immediate steps to secure the release of the fishermen along with their boats and protect their livelihood.

Indian Coast Guard

They also demanded that the Tamil Nadu government order the release of all the Sri Lankan fishermen lodged in prisons in the State. “While we condemn the arrest of the Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan Navy on the charge of illegal fishing, we also condemn the arrest of Sri Lankan fishermen by the Indian Coast Guard,” Mr.Bose said. The arrests and counter-arrests of fishermen by the two countries badly affected the livelihood of the hapless fishing community, he said.

Illegal fishing

Pointing out that the Mannar court in Sri Lanka ordered the release of 22 fishermen on Thursday but declined to release their trawlers, Sesu Raja, district secretary, TN Coastal Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association, said this amounted to crippling their livelihood.

He said the fishermen in the island had resolved to observe a relay fast at Thangachimadam from November 12, demanding that the Centre and the State arrange talks between fishermen of the two countries and help find a solution to the problem, he said.

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