New Delhi: Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Thursday welcomed Colombo's move to release five Tamil Nadu fishermen who were sentenced to death on charges of drug trafficking, describing the decision as arising out of the great positioning of India internationally under the pioneering leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said it was a very good gesture by the Government of Sri Lanka.
"The clemency granted by the Sri Lankan President is welcome. And, I think, it's a great positioning of India internationally, which possibly has helped under the pioneering leadership of Mr. Narendra Modi that this gesture has come from Sri Lanka," said Rudy.
"We, on behalf of the government, deeply welcome this decision by the Sri Lankan President, and, we are really thankful to him for giving a reprieve to the Tamil fishermen who were on death row," he added.
The five fishermen from Tamil Nadu will reach home today. The five fishermen - Emerson, P Augustus, R Wilson, K Prasath and J Langlet -were arrested in 2011 and held guilty of drug trafficking.
According to reports, the Sri Lankan authorities decided to release the five fishermen from Tamil Nadu after Prime Minister Modi intervened in the matter and spoke to President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the island nation.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam had earlier urged the Prime Minister's direct intervention to ensure the release of fishermen.
The Colombo High Court had earlier on October 30 sentenced the five fishermen to death on charges of smuggling 995 grams of heroin.