Chennai, January 11: Sri Lankan navy finally released fifty one fishermen belong to Tamil Nadu reached home on Tuesday evening. All the fishermen were brought to Karaikal private port near Nagapattinam by Indian Coast Guard. All the fifty one fishermen were welcomed by their relatives and state fisheries authorities at the Karaikal private port.
Importantly, the fishermen were released as per the decision made in joint working group meeting held at Colombo. Earlier the fishermen were handed over to Indian Coast Guard by Sri Lankan Navy at the international maritime boundary line.
Then these fishermen were brought to port in coast guard ship. The fishermen are being sent to their fishing hamlets by local fisheries authorities. Sri Lanka released fishermen apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy as goodwill gesture but detains fishing boats as deterrent measure.
All the fishermen belonging to Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai and Thoothukudi districts were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for straying into the Lankan waters between November and December, 2016. They were subsequently lodged in prisons in Sri Lanka. Of them, 32 fishermen are from Ramanathapuram district and 12 from Pudukottai district.
Meanwhile, six fishermen belonging to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, who had drifted into Sri Lankan waters near Trincomalee due to the impact of Nada cyclone, also returned to Karaikal on Tuesday. Sri Lankan Navy handed them over to the Coast Guard officials near IMBL. They had ventured into the sea from Andaman on November 27.
Notably, Sri Lankan navy has arrested hundreds of Indian fishermen but later they were freed by them. Still 152 boats and 19 Tamil Nadu fishermen are currently in custody in Sri Lanka.