RAMESWARAM: Even as bilateral talks between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen have been scheduled to be held in Chennai on March 24 and 25, the navy of the island nation on Saturday evening apprehended 54 Tamil Nadu fishermen and their ten boats.
Marine police sources at Mandapam said the fishermen had been apprehended while they were fishing between Katchatheevu and Neduntheevu in the Sri Lankan waters. They were being interrogated at the naval bases in Sri Lanka.
Thirty three of the apprehended fishermen are from Rameswaram while the rest are from Jegathapattinam in Pudukottai district.
U Arulanandam of the Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen said 33 Rameswaram fishermen were held in Talaimannar naval base while 21 fishermen were detained at Kangesanthurai naval base.
“The navy may hand them over to fisheries department, and we will know later in the evening if they are remanded or not,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that our fishermen are apprehended as we are preparing for the talks,” said B Jesuraja, district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association in Rameswaram.
However, he expressed the hope that the fishermen would be released soon in view of the scheduled talks.
A team of 15 fishermen leaders from Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam districts and an equal number of fishermen from Sri Lanka are expected to participate in the talks.