COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government on Monday ordered the release of 106 Indian fishermen who were in its custody on charges of poaching in Lankan waters. Three fishermen arrested by the Lankan Navy on Sunday will also be released simultaneously.
The release orders for 55 fishermen had already been issued by the magistrates’ courts of Jaffna and Mannar, while the process of release of remaining 51 fishermen is expected to be completed on Monday.
According to officials of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna, the repatriation of these fishermen will take place later this week.
The fishermen had been arrested at various times since November last year, along with their fishing vessels. Their boats have however not been released.
The fishermen were to be released before the New Year but the Lankan Foreign Ministry was not for it. The Minister of Fisheries, Mahinda Amaraweera, again proposed that they be released before Thai Pongal as keeping such a large number in prison was proving to be burdensome..But this plan too did not fructify