Families fast demanding Sri Lanka release fishermen on death row

imagesRameswaram: Families of five fishermen sentenced to death by a court in Sri Lanka for alleged drug trafficking on Saturday observed a one-day fast to press the government to take immediate steps to bring them back home.

The families wore black badges at the venue in this coastal town. Local people, as also about 3,000 activists of various political parties joined them at the spot, shouted slogans against the court verdict and urged government to do everything possible to get the fishermen back.

Leaders of political parties, including Suba Thangavelan of DMK, Raman Unni (Congress), Arjunan (AIADMK) and Annadurai of CPI(M) were present at the venue.

The five fishermen, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, were apprehended in 2011 by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of smuggling drugs in the seas off northern Jaffna’s Delft islet.

On 30 October, they were given the death penalty by a court in Colombo. The five were among a group of eight sentenced to death by for alleged involvement in heroin trafficking between India and Sri Lanka in 2011. The other three are Sri Lankans.

Their arrest had sparked protests in various parts of Tamil Nadu. A fishermen’s association here had announced they would go on an indefinite fast till the Indian government went for an appeal in a higher court against the death sentence.

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