While Sri Lanka appreciates India’s concern in regard to the release of its fishermen arrested on charges of poaching, Sri Lanka can only go by its legal processes, the External Affairs Ministry here has said.

“India has a right to request Sri Lanka to release its fishermen soon, but they should also respect our processes,” External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilleke Amunugama told The Hindu on Sunday.

A report on this issue, which appeared in the August 11 edition of The Sunday Times, quoted him as saying ‘There is a legal procedure to adhere to. The law should take its course’. Asked about it, Mr. Amunugama, said: “We are trying our best to speed up the release. We are treating the Indian fishermen in a humane manner. India should appreciate the time it takes to complete certain processes involved.”

His statement comes in the wake of India recently serving a demarche on Sri Lanka over jailed fishermen. Currently, there are 114 Indian fishermen and 21 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody.

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