They were arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on August 26
Thirty-five fishermen from Pamban, arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on August 26 and detained at the Mirihana camp near Colombo after they were set free by the Puttalam district magistrate on September 23, will be repatriated on Wednesday.
Sources in the Mandapam station of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said the repatriation would take place around 10 a.m., when the Sri Lankan Navy from Talaimannar would hand over the fishermen to ICG at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
Coast guard vessel Rajtharang would bring them to the anchorage off Rameswaram in the afternoon, the sources said. After completing the formalities on the high seas, they would be handed over to the fisheries department officials.
“If the weather condition is conducive, the fishermen are expected to reach Rameswaram around 12.30 p.m.,” the sources said. These fishermen were arrested by the navy in the small hours of August 26, when they were fishing in the Gulf of Mannar region.
They were lodged in Negombo jail and released after 29 days in custody. However, they could not be repatriated immediately as they were taken to the Mirihana camp, where immigration law violators were detained. On Tuesday, they were handed over to the navy at Talaimannar, the sources said.
The ICG has decided to release the fishermen on the high seas off Rameswaram as the fisherfolk staged a protest in front of the Mandapam station on Saturday against the delay in letting out the fishermen after they reached the anchorage point on the previous night.
Meanwhile, a Trincomalee court on Tuesday ordered the release of 31 fishermen from Karaikal and Nagapattinam who were arrested on July 30. The court, however, posted for October 17 the question whether to release the four boats, U. Arulanandham, president for the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF) said. The released fishermen were presently accommodated at the YMCA in Trincomalee and were likely to be repatriated in a day or two, he said.
In a related development, 19 fishermen from Jagathapattinam arrested on September 19 were produced before a court at Kayts off Jaffna, and their judicial remand has been extended till October 14.