Dec 12, Colombo: Dismissing the accusations by the political leaders of India's Tamil Nadu state that Sri Lanka Navy has abducted the Indian fishermen and turned the Bay of Bengal into an 'open air prison', the Sri Lanka Navy said India is more responsible for the issue since they have more Sri Lankan fishermen in custody.
"It is the Indian Authorities that has more Sri Lankan fishermen in their custody. As the Navy of our country what we do is secure the maritime borders and we have never acted beyond that cause," Navy Spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya told local media.
Referring to the arrest of 140 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy within 24 hours, the DMK president M Karunanidhi today said the navy had turned Bay of Bengal into an "open-air prison," and charged the center for allowing that.
An irate Tamil Nadu Chief Minister called the arrest a 'most outrageous mass abduction' and demanded the Indian government to immediately summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and lodge a strong protest.
Arrests of Sri Lankan fishermen by Indian Coast Guard go unnoticed since the Sri Lankan government does not take effective measures to secure their release promptly and the fishermen languish in Indian jails for a long time, the Sri Lankan fishermen associations and relatives of the jailed fishermen complain.
They allege that Indian fishermen are released swiftly as compared to Sri Lankans due to the pressure from Indian authorities while Sri Lankan authorities are apathetic in getting their family members released.
The Sri Lankan fishermen have been warned not to cross the IMBL and when they were arrested by India the Sri Lankan government does not force India to release them since they (Sri Lankan fishermen) have engaged in an illegal activity and will have to face the consequences, the Fisheries Minister has said.