Indian fishermen seek release of 14 jailed in Sri Lanka

Indian fishermen seek release of 14 jailed in Sri Lanka

The fishermen here struck work on Wednesday and observed a day’s fast, demanding the release of 14 fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 2 and a compensation for 19 boats, impounded by the Lankan authorities but could not be salvaged.

As a court in Sri Lanka had twice extended the judicial remand of the 14 fishermen, the fishing community and the family members of the arrested fishermen observed a fast in front of the bus stand here, urging the Centre to secure their release when their remand period would end on Friday.

Fishermen leader P. Sesu Raja, who participated in the fast, said unlike in the past when the Lankan authorities released the fishermen immediately while detaining their boats after arresting them on a charge of poaching, detained the 14 fishermen arrested in the new fishing season for nearly a month now.

As the families of 14 fishermen were suffering in the absence of their breadwinners the Central and State governments should prevail upon the Lankan government and secure their release along with three boats, he said.

Mr. Raja said the protest was also to urge the Centre to secure the release of five boats confiscated by the Lankan authorities after arresting 14 fishermen on March 12, and demand compensation for the 19 boats impounded by the Lankan authorities during the 2014-15 fishing season which could not be salvaged.

Lankan President Maithripla Sirisena had ordered the release of all the 86 boats detained in Lankan ports after assuming office early this year, but the 19 boats could not be salvaged as they had suffered extensive damage due to months of neglect at the ports, he said.

Members of parties, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Congress, Tamil Maanila Congress and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, took part in the fast.

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