Chennai: Three Indian fishermen, hailing from Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu, were arrested by Sri Lankan navy for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters, an official statement said here on Thursday March 31.
Apart from arresting the fishermen late on Wednesday night, the Sri Lankans also impounded a mechanised fishing boat, the statement issued by Tamil Nadu fisheries department said.
Fishermen associations have expressed anguish and ire at the incident. A leader of the Fishermen association in Ramanathapuram J. Jesudas told IANS: “This is indeed highly objectionable. Our government is supporting the Sri Lankans during crisis and they are not reciprocating the good will. They are arresting our fishermen and seizing our costly boats. This is not acceptable and the Tamil Nadu government must take this up very seriously with the Centre on priority. People are now scared to go to the sea and several fishing hamlets are in abject poverty.”
Notably, the Sri Lankan navy had arrested four Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu this week itself and captured their boats also. Since January 2022, 87 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested and around 42 were released. This means that around 45 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu are under the custody of Sri Lankan authorities.
On Wednesday, the Indian Coast Guard took a Sri Lankan fisherman into custody after he had crossed deep into the Indian marine waters at Nagapattinam.