The wait for the 56 fishermen from Tamil Nadu – who were caught in Sri Lankan waters earlier this month – has only become longer after the magistrate courts in Mannar and Kayts Island on Friday extended their remand.

On April 6, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 30 fishermen from Rameswaram on the charges of alleged illegal fishing activity in Sri Lankan waters, north of Talaimannar.

The case came up for hearing on April 18, and the fishermen’s remand was extended to April 26.

Now, after yet another hearing, their remand has been extended until May 6, according to officials at the Indian Consulate in Jaffna. Similarly, the 26 fishermen, held off Kovilam Point on April 5, will have to remain in custody till April 29, the magistrate court in Kayts Island said on Friday.

On Thursday, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed told the Rajya Sabha that 125 Indian fishermen had been apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy in the last four months.

Ramanathapuram Special Correspondent writes:

As a Sri Lankan court has further extended the remand of 30 fishermen till May 6, dejected fishermen association leaders called on District Collector K. Nanthakumar here and requested him to get them an appointment with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to express their plights and seek a solution.

Leaders of five fishermen’s associations met the Collector at the Collectorate here on Friday.

P. Sesu Raja, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Coastal Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association said the associations strongly believed that Chief Minister alone could find an amicable solution to the vexed issue.

“We have been facing the problem for the last three decades and we do not want to take the risk after May 29, when the 45-day ban period comes to an end. The Chief Minister should take up the issue with the Centre or appropriate authority and secure our traditional fishing rights, beyond Katchatheevu,” Mr. Raja said.