They were fishing near Katchatheevu

A day after arresting 22 fishermen from the coastal villages of Pudukottai district, the Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 18 fishermen from Pamban in the early hours of Monday and seized three ‘vallam’ (country-boats) from them.

With this, the number of fishermen held by Sri Lanka has crossed the 250 mark.

“As per our count, 272 fishermen are in the custody of the government,” said U. Arulanandam, a fishermen’s cooperative representative, who has often travelled to Sri Lanka to help the fishermen with legal formalities.

The fishermen left on Sunday afternoon from Sangumal, near here, and were fishing near Katchatheevu, when they were arrested, said S.P. Royappan, president of the district country-boat fishermen’s association, Pamban.

Mr. Arulanandham said the fishermen were taken to Kayts, a village in Velanai Island off the coast of the Jaffna Peninsula and handed over to the police.

Strong warning needed: DMK

In Chennai, DMK president M. Karunanidhi said that unless India strongly warned Sri Lanka against attacks on Tamil fishermen by its Navy and their detention, such incidents would continue unabated.

Reacting to the arrest of 22 Pudukottai fishermen and their detention in judicial custody till January 10, he said the incident took place even after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave an assurance that a meeting between fishermen of both countries would be held in Chennai by January 20.

CPI(M) Tamil Nadu secretary G. Ramakrishnan urged the Centre to find a permanent solution to the problem.