Families demand release of fishermen detained in Lanka

Families and relatives of the 20 fishermen from Thoothukudi, who were arrested by Sri Lankan navy personnel on a charge of trespassing into the waters of the island nation on Saturday, thronged the Collectorate here on Monday, seeking the intervention of the district administration to help secure the early release of the fishermen and their boats.

They said that their livelihood would be at stake until the 20 fishermen were released from custody in Sri Lanka. P. Santhya Pacheik, owner of one of three confiscated boats, said that residents of Threspuram – a majority of them country boat fishermen – were deeply saddened by their detention.

The detained fishermen were lodged in a prison at ‘Neer Colombo’ in Sri Lanka. Both Central and State government authorities should take necessary steps to secure their release at the earliest.

Fishermen from Tamil Nadu were often being arrested by Sri Lankan navy on the charge of cross-border fishing.

The Central government should introduce a new law to allow free ‘hook and line’ and ‘gill net’ fishing in marine waters, which did not by any means affect the marine ecosystem. The fishermen families submitted a petition to the district administration, and also met Superintendent of Police Ashwin M. Kotnis, seeking his help in this regard.