The Sri Lankan government on Friday released 34 of the 53 Indian fishermen its Navy took into custody in the last two days.

The fishermen were handed over to Indian officials in Delft from where they will be brought to Jaffna. They would stay in Jaffna pending repatriation.

“The strenuous efforts made by the Indian High Commission in Colombo and the Consulate General in Jaffna led to the release of 34 fishermen at Delft. The mission is also in contact with the Lankan authorities to get the rest freed,” an official said.

Thirty-four Indian fishermen were held on Thursday near the islet of Delft in the northern Jaffna district by the Sri Lankan Navy for “trespassing and poaching in Sri Lankan waters” while 19 were arrested near the northern seas of Mannar on Wednesday.

Reacting to the arrests, the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi had summoned Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner.

The Deputy High Commissioner was told that the fishermen should be treated humanely. PTI