While Sri Lanka may release the Indian fishermen arrested on charges of illegal fishing, the government will not release the Indian trawlers in its custody, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said.
Owing to the bottom-trawling fishing method used by the Indian fishermen, he said the Sri Lankan economy had suffered and the fishermen of the island’s Tamil-majority north and east had been hit hard. While releasing the Indian fishermen, Sri Lanka would not consider releasing the trawlers at the moment, he emphasised. “If I allow the boats to return, again they will return and do the same thing,” he told The Hindu in an interview on Tuesday.
President Rajapaksa said the fishermen who were released were “innocent daily wage labourers.”