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* Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu courts release over 180 fishermen of both sides
Sat, Jan 18, 2014, 01:31 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 18, Rameswaram: In accordance with the reciprocal agreement reached between India and Sri Lanka to release detained fishermen two Tamil Nadu courts late Friday have ordered the release of 61 Sri Lankan fishermen detained in the state's jails.

A local court ordered the release of two Sri Lankan fishermen from Negombo from the Central Prison at Puzhal in Chennai and to hand them over to Indian Coast Guard (ICG). The two fishermen were arrested on July 27, 2013.

A court in in Tuticorin on Friday night has released 59 fishermen from Ampara, Trincomalee and Negombo who were arrested between September 17 and November 8 last year and detained in the Central Prison in Chennai.

Five of the 59 fishermen were arrested on September 17, another 26 on October 10, 24 on October 31 and 4 on November 8.

A 'Q' Branch Inspector has said that all the fishermen would be taken from Chennai and handed over to the ICG either on Saturday or on Sunday.

Sri Lanka meanwhile on Friday released more than 120 Indian fishermen, arrested by the Navy in the past several months.

According to authorities, 111 Indian fishermen from a jail in Jaffna were released on Friday after a court ordered their release on January 13.

Under the reciprocal agreement reached between the two governments about 160 Sri Lankan fishermen and four vessels would be released from India and 236 Indian fishermen and 90 boats will be released by Sri Lanka ahead of the proposed talks between fishermen associations of both the countries on January 20.

The first exchange of fishermen released from Indian and Sri Lankan jails in accordance with the agreement reached Wednesday by the governments of the two countries took place on Thursday.

The Sri Lankan Navy handed over 51 Indian fishermen released by Sri Lanka to the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) at the International Maritime Boundary Line off Kankasanthurei on Thursday and received 52 Sri Lankan fishermen released from the Puzhal prison in Chennai.

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