Colombo orders release of 54 fishermen

Published - March 24, 2015 01:24 am IST - COLOMBO:

The Sri Lankan government on Monday ordered the release of the 54 Indian fishermen arrested early Sunday by the Navy on charges of poaching.

The decision comes a day ahead of the scheduled third round of talks between fisher leaders from India and Sri Lanka, to be held in Chennai. The 10 trawlers seized, however, were being held by Sri Lanka, sources in Jaffna said.

On Monday, fishermen in Rameswaram launched an indefinite strike demanding the release of the fishermen, news reports said.

Chennai Special Correspondent writes:

The Tamil Nadu government had categorically said the talks could be held here on Tuesday only if the fishermen are freed.

The arrested fishermen hailed from Ramanathapuram and Pudukottai districts.

After taking up the issue with the Indian High Commission in Colombo, the government had insisted that the bilateral talks would be of no use under such circumstances.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu has agreed to hold the talks based on the guarantee given by the Sri Lankan government that fishermen would be released after being produced before the courts on Tuesday morning.

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