The body of one of the two Rameswaram fishermen, who were feared drowned after their boat capsized on Monday night while fishing, was found floating on the high seas off Danushkodi and recovered on Wednesday.

Local fishermen, who launched a search operation with the help of Navy, found the body floating near Aathuvai off Danushkodi, where the boat sunk on Monday night and recovered the same, sources in fisheries department here said.

The body, identified as that of Sathish Kumar (31), was handed over to the family after post mortem at Government Hospital here. The search for another fisherman Mahatma alias Karthik (30) who is also feared drowned was still on, the source said.

After identifying the spot where the boat sunk, the fishermen dived into the sea to see if the body of Mahatma had got stuck in the sunken boat, but could not trace the body.

Sources in the Mandapam Station of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said its hovercraft and an interceptor craft have been pressed into the search operation. The Navy also continued the search. Family members of Mahatma staged a road roko agitation protesting against the delay in tracing him.

Fishermen release

Meanwhile, the Kayts court in Sri Lanka has ordered the release of four Rameswaram fishermen along with their trawler on Wednesday though their judicial remand period ends only on November 11, according to U.Arulanandham, President of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF).

He said Magistrate Mahendra Raja ordered the release of the four fishermen – Christ, Velmurugan, Ragu and Muthusamy – who were lodged in Jaffna prison.

The fishermen had ventured into the sea for fishing on October 3 and fishing on the high seas, when they drifted to the Delft island, after their boat developed technical snag. The Delft police had arrested them and they were later remanded in judicial custody.

The Mallagam court in Jaffna District has remanded to judicial custody till November 19, the 30 fishermen – 13 from Rameswaram and 17 from Jagadapattinam in Pudukottai district, who were arrested by the Lankan navy on Monday night, he said. The fishermen were lodged in Jaffna prison, he added.

The Karainagar navy, which apprehended the fishermen on charges of straying into Lankan waters, handed them over to the Kankesanthurai navy, which in turn, handed them over to the Fisheries department in Kayts, he said.

This was the first time in recent years the Navy had handed over the fishermen to the fisheries department instead of the police, Mr. Arulanandham pointed out.

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