A local Sri Lankan court ordered on Monday, the release of the ten Indian fishermen, who entered Sri Lankan waters in two trawlers on July 2.
Earlier, the fishermen were ordered to be remanded after they were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy north of Thalaimannar. They were handed over to the Thalaimannar police.
Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashok K.Kantha, confirmed their release, and added that they will repatriated on Tuesday. The Sri Lankan Navy will hand over the fishermen and their trawlers at the International Maritime Boundary Line to the Indian Coast Guard.
This leaves eight more Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan jails. They had come in two batches. One set of five fishermen, who had crossed over for fishing on November 28, 2011, have been held under charges of smuggling narcotics substances. But their counterparts in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, are convinced that the fishermen are innocent, and have launched a series of agitations to secure their release.
The Tamil Nadu government, which is also convinced of the innocence of the five fishermen, has been trying through diplomatic channels to secure their release. The Sri Lankan government remains unmoved.
Indian fishermen violating the international maritime boundary have been a constant irritant in Indo-Lankan ties since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. In a bid to internationalise the issue, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a pointed reference to this in his speech at the recent Rio summit.