All 22 Indian fishermen held by Sri Lankan Navy freed

22 fishermen were detained on November 18 by the Navy personnel on charges of poaching

November 19, 2023 09:53 am | Updated 05:04 pm IST - RAMESWARAM

Family members of released country boat fishermen thanked Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Rameswaram on Sunday.

Family members of released country boat fishermen thanked Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Rameswaram on Sunday. | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

The Sri Lankan government has released 22 fishermen hailing from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, who were detained on November 18 by the Navy personnel on charges of poaching. The two seized country boats belonging to the fishermen have also been released, Rayappan, president, the country boat fishermen association, told journalists in Rameswaram on November 19.

According to him, a fishermen’s delegation had met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 18 evening and briefed her about the arrest. She spoke with the External Affairs Secretary in New Delhi and also with the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka seeking their intervention to get the fishermen and their boats freed.

The Sri Lankan government has issued an order releasing all the 22 fishermen and the two country boats, he said. He thanked the Minister for her intervention.

Country boat fishermen meet Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Rameswaram on Saturday.

Country boat fishermen meet Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Rameswaram on Saturday. | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

According to the information available here, the arrested fishermen were being handed over at the IMBL by the Sri Lankan authorities and were being brought back home. “We are planning to meet the Central Minister with our families,” Mr Rayappan added.

Another fishermen leader P. Jesu Raja appealed to Ms. Sitharaman to get the 118 boats of the fishermen impounded in Sri Lanka since 2018 and secure the release of a fisherman Nambu Murugan, who was sentenced to two years in jail by a court in Sri Lanka.

Ms. Sitharaman is in Rameswaram to participate in the SVANidhi Outreach program, officials said.

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