38 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy
Rameswaram/Colombo: Thirty-eight Tamil Nadu fishermen were today arrested by Sri Lankan navy for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary line, three days after fishermen representatives of India and Sri Lanka met to discuss the vexed fishing issue.
The fishermen along with their five boats have been taken by the Lankan Navy to the Kangesanthurai Port, officials said.
Officials said the fishermen were fishing using "Irattai Madippu" fishing nets which had been banned by both countries as they destroyed the marine ecology.
In Colombo, Sri Lankan Naval spokesman Kosala Warnakualsuriya said the fishermen were arrested off the islet of Delft in the northern Jaffna peninsula.
Having spotted them inside Sri Lankan waters they had been warned to leave and the failure to do so forced the arrest, the Navy said.
The arrest came hours after External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid held extensive talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart G L Peiris on key bilateral issues including fishermen.
The meeting, which came close on the heels of a visit by Sri Lankan Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Minister Rajitha Senaratne here, assessed "positively" the recent meeting in Chennai between the fishermen associations as a first step in the right direction and agreed to consider the proposals put forward by the fishermen associations.
Sri Lankan fishing community leaders said the Indians had agreed to stop bottom trawling and needed a grace period of one month before it could be halted.
Fishermen representatives had met at Chennai on Monday to resolve the vexed issue of traditional fishing rights in Palk Straits, but both sides were tight-lipped on what transpired in the closed-door meet held in the presence of government representatives from the two countries.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had said the talks would be based on a five point agenda which would include stressing the traditional fishing rights of Tamil fishermen in the Palk Straits, ending the assault on them and confiscation of their boats.
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