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* Sri Lankan court releases 20 Tamil Nadu fishermen
Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 07:03 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 13, Colombo: A Sri Lankan court on Monday has ordered to release 20 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy on November 20.

The fishermen belonging to Jegathapattinam of Pudukottai district were arrested on November 20 when they were engaged in illegal fishing in the seas north of Analathivu, an islet about five kilometers off Kayts near the Jaffna peninsula, according to the Sri Lankan Navy.

India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbarudd confirmed the release in a Twitter message which said "India, Sri Lanka begin process of release of fishermen. 1st batch of 20 released."

Magistrate Gajanithi Balan of Mallam court in Sri Lanka ordered the release, PTI reported.

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Sunday directed the state officials to release 179 Sri Lankan fishermen detained in the state's jails as a gesture to create a favorable atmosphere for the upcoming talks between the fishermen of the two countries and asked Sri Lanka to reciprocate the action.

However, Sri Lanka's Fisheries and Aquatic Sources Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the Indian fishermen would be released when all Sri Lankan fishermen are released by India.

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