Over 100 fishermen detained in Sri Lanka

They have been accused of doing "illegal" fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

Colombo: The 112 Indian fishermen,
accused of doing "illegal" fishing in Sri Lankan waters, were
on Wednesday remanded to judicial custody until the end of this month
by a local court in Jaffna.

The fishermen, who were produced before a Point Pedro
Magistrate court in Jaffna, were remanded to judicial custody
until February 28.

The remand order came contrary to expectations that
the fishermen would be released on bail.

Earlier, Sri Lanka`s Deputy minister of External
Affairs Neomal Perera said, "this is a bailable offence."

The fishermen were apprehended along with their boats
and handed over to the Point Pedro police yesterday by a group
of local fishermen, who claim they strayed into the country`s
waters and were doing "illegal" fishing.

Diplomatic efforts were on since then to secure the
release of the fishermen.

The Indian high commission officials had discussions
with the external affairs ministry yesterday and Indian
consulate in Jaffna peninsula is in touch with the fishermen.

India last month accused the Sri Lankan Navy of
killing at least two Indian fishermen.

The incident triggered a flurry of diplomatic activity
between the two south Asian neighbours following which Indian
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visited Colombo to seek
assurances to prevent such incidents in future.


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