Aug 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka Navy today assisted the repatriation of 94 Indian fishermen released by Sri Lankan courts following an order from Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The President ordered the release of all Indian fishermen from custody on the occasion of India's Independence Day, which was observed on August 15.
The Sri Lankan navy handed over the 94 fishermen from Tamil Nadu taken to the Indian Coast Guard at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
According to Tamil Nadu police the fishermen, belonging to Ramanathapuram, Nagapattinam and Pudukottai districts, were taken into custody by the navy last month on charges of violating IMBL, The Hindu said.
The fishermen are expected to be brought to Rameswaram by the Coast Guard personnel by Saturday evening.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in a letter last month urged the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "take decisive steps to ensure the immediate release" of the 94 fishermen and their 62 boats and fishing gear from Sri Lankan custody.
There will be no more Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan prisons facing charges of trespassing after today's handover.
Sri Lanka has released 225 Indian fishermen since the Narendra Modi government took over in May this year.
India has reciprocated by releasing 16 Sri Lankan fishermen who were in custody in Karnataka State in South India while another batch of 23 Sri Lankan fishermen are still in custody in Andhra Pradesh.