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* Sri Lanka plans to release Indian fishermen before their planned invasion
Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 12:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 31, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government is likely to release all the Indian fishermen arrested by the country's Navy before their colleagues from Rameswaram start a journey to breach the International Maritime Boundary Line between India and Sri Lanka and invade the Sri Lankan side.

The Indian fishermen defying the threat of arrest by the Sri Lankan Navy have vowed to undertake a "Journey for Justice" to Sri Lankan waters on August 2 as part of their agitation for the restoration of their "traditional" right to fish around Kachchativu islet, which India ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974.

The Rameswaram fishermen have said that it is better to get arrested and getting fed in Sri Lankan jails than remaining hungry.

Sri Lanka's Minister of Fisheries, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has said that anyone crossing the IMBL illegally will be arrested by the Navy.

The Sri Lankan Navy meanwhile will take rapid action to prevent any Indian fishermen attempting to cross into the country's waters, the military sad.

Militarily spokesman and Director of the Media Centre of Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the Sri Lanka Navy will be on standby to apprehend illegal fishermen in Northern seas.

"The navy will be placed on alert to arrest Indian fishermen if they attempt to force their way into Sri Lankan waters," he said.

"Whether they forcefully or illegally cross over to the Sri Lankan waters the Navy would take rapid actions," Brigadier Wanigasooriya said responding to media.

The Minister has however, told Indian media that the arrested Indian fishermen will likely to be released before the planned journey by their colleagues.

Currently, there are 94 Indian fishermen and 62 boats in the custody of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka releases the fishermen but confiscates their boats and fishing equipment as a deterrent.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa demanded the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to also get the boats and fishing equipment released.

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