The Rameswaram fishermen, who had announced to lay siege to the Pamban road bridge on April 12, called off their proposed stir as the Mannar District Court in Sri Lanka has ordered the release of 19 fishermen, who were arrested on March 13.

Acting judge M. M. Sarbudhin ordered the release of the fishermen with four of their trawlers, when they were produced before the court on Thursday, according to U. Arulanandham, president of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF) here.

H. H. More, Station Commander of Mandapam Coast Guard Station, said the Indian Coast Guard would receive the released fishermen on being handed over by the Sri Lankan Navy at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) around 10 a.m. on Friday. The Coast Guard would bring the fishermen and their four trawlers to the Rameswaram fishing jetty around 2 p.m., he told The Hindu.

The Rameswaram fishermen were fighting for the release of the 19 fishermen, when the Lankan Navy had detained 30 more fishermen on the night of April 6 with their five boats and remanded them in judicial custody till April 18. Protesting against this, leaders of 12 fishermen’s associations on April 7 announced an indefinite strike and to lay siege to the Pamban bridge. “We have decided to call off the agitation as we learnt that the Lankan court has ordered the release of 19 fishermen,” P. Sesu Raja, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Coastal Mechanised Boat Fishermen association said.

“We see this (release of 19 fishermen) as a good sign and we have decided to wait till April 18 for the release of 30 other fishermen also,” he said.

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