Jan 06, Colombo: Courts in Sri Lanka have released 51 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and detained in prisons for illegally entering Sri Lankan waters for poaching.
The courts have released the fishermen following a decision taken at the ministerial level talks held between the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India Radha Mohan Singh and Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka Mahinda Amaraweera on Monday, 2 January.
While 39 of the fishermen were produced before a court in Jaffna, the remaining 12 were produced before a court in Vavuniya, before being released, according to Indian media.
The fishermen were handed over to the Indian Deputy High Commission at Jaffna, Rameswaram Fishermen's Association representative P Sesuraja said.
At the ministerial level talks, the two countries decided to immediately release the fishermen presently in custody of each other. Accordingly, it was agreed that Sri Lanka will release 51 Indian fishermen, while three of their Lankan counterparts will be freed by India.
Sri Lanka Navy arrested another 10 Tamil Nadu fishermen on Wednesday after the discussions.
According to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O. Panneerselvam 61 fishermen and 116 fishing boats were in Sri Lankan custody.