The Sri Lankan government released 29 Indian fishermen on Monday. They were released under orders from the Trincomalee magistrate, while orders to release the remaining fishermen from other magistrates are underway.
The Sri Lankan government has decided to release 106 fishermen as a gesture of goodwill preceding the festival of Pongal. Of these, 55 fishermen were released earlier this week. Similarly, they will continue to be released in batches from various magistrates.
Although the fishermen were released, the Sri Lankan government has detained their vessels. Also, the fishermen will be sent back home only after all the 106 have cleared their release papers.
The fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan navy for marine boundary limit violations and fishing in Sri Lankan waters.
TUTICORIN: Since Monday evening, a number of small whales (short finned pilot whales) have washed ashore in Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu. According to a TNN report, more than 100 whales were seen on the 16km stretch from Alanthalai to Kallamozhi coastal hamlets by Tuesday morning.
About 20 whales were feared dead on the shore, while others were struggling for their lives. Local fishermen joined hands to save the whales by pulling them back to the sea. Rajan, a fisherman in Manapad said, “The whales started reaching the shore in groups around 5pm. It is very strange. In 1973 when we were boys, we witnessed same phenomenon. However, not these many washed ashore then.”
Ditto Mascarenhas of Kulasekarapattinam believes that, had it not been for the local fishermen and their vigil, many whales would have died. The fishermen remained conscious the whole night to continue to save the whales, by pulling them back to the sea.
M Ravikumar, Tuticorin’s district collector, inspected the coast and said, officials were looking into the matter to find the cause for such a massive number of whales reaching the shore.
A team from the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park in Ramanathapuram has reached the location.
As many as 86 Indian fishermen have been arrested and their 10 fishing boats seized by the Sri Lanka Navy for professedly poaching in the nation’s waters, naval officials said on Friday.
They were arrested last night off the eastern shore of Mullaithivu, Naval representative Commander Indika Silva said. The Indian fishermen will be handed over to the police at the port city of Trincomalee.
Sri Lankan fishermen have been complaining that since the approach of new government in Sri Lanka, the quantity of Indian fishermen breaching the nation’s waters for illegal fishing has been growing.
The discussions between Sri Lanka and India on the fishermen issue planned for March 5 have been delayed, Sri Lankan fisheries officials said.
Chennai: Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalitha has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to make sure that the 28 fishermen along with their 41 boats are released from Sri Lanka’s custody.
“The effective intervention by the Center led to the release of 46 fishermen who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy on June 18, ” the chief minister said. Jayalalitha said that 11 fishermen who were detained on June 23 are yet to be released whereas those detained on June 19 had been released.
The AIADMK supremo pointed out that the fishermen of Tamil Nadu are finding it very difficult to earn a living due to the constant attacks by the Sri Lankan navy. She also stated that the waters of Palk Bay is where most of the fishermen carry out the traditional activity. “The boats and gear of the fishermen released so far are yet to be returned to them, thus affecting their livelihood”, she added.
Stressing on the need to repossess Katchchtheevu, the CM said, “I would like to reiterate that the Center should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the very ownership of Katchchtheevu islet and the unconstitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements by which the islet was ceded to Sri Lanka are the subject matter of litigation in the Supreme Court.”
To sum it up the Chief Minister said that her government is looking forward to receive an immediate attention from the Center and the matter be taken up to the highest possible level of the Sri Lankan government, in order to safe guard our fishermen from repeated arrests in the seas of Palk Bay.