Mar 25, Colombo: The second round of talks between the fishermen of Sri Lanka and India scheduled to be held in Colombo today have been cancelled, according to the Fisheries Ministry in Tamil Nadu.
The talks were in doubt since Sri Lanka has decided not to release the Indian fishermen arrested for continuing to poach in Sri Lankan waters despite an agreement reached earlier.
During the first round of talks held on January 27, the fishermen on both sides agreed not to invade each other's territory. Despite the agreement Tamil Nadu fishermen have continued to trespass into Sri Lankan waters forcing the Sri Lankan Navy to arrest them and seize their boats.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa has demanded that the Sri Lankan authorities release all the Indian fishermen held in Sri Lanka jails if talks were to take place as scheduled on March 13.
However, since Sri Lanka did not release all the Indian fishermen and their boats detained on time before talks, the second round of discussions were postponed to March 25th.
Sri Lanka in a hurry released all 172 fishermen held in the island's jails and 31 boats on March 17th but a day later arrested 75 Indian fishermen along with 18 vessels for trespassing into the Sri Lankan waters.
Sri Lanka's Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne has refused to release the Indian fishermen arrested for poaching on humanitarian grounds until proper talks are held either with Tamil Nadu officials or with Indian central government officials.