Chief Minister Jayalalithaa appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday to intercede with Sri Lankan authorities and obtain the release of 16 fishermen from Tuticorin district who were apprehended by the Navy of the island nation in the early hours of Sunday.

In her letter, the Chief Minister said the fishermen were engaged in fishing in the Gulf of Mannar in three mechanised boats when they were apprehended and taken to the Kalpitiya Police Station. The fishermen have reportedly been presented in a court.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the families of the arrested fishermen had appealed to the State government and said the fishermen had been earning their livelihood by fishing in the Gulf of Mannar area for long.

“The Sri Lankan government has always assured us at various bilateral meetings that Indian fishermen who are apprehended while fishing will be released expeditiously without prolonged legal hurdles,” she added.

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