Colombo/Rameswaram: At least 56 Tamil fishermen have been arrested and their boats seized by Sri Lankan Naval personnel on charges of fishing in the island nation`s international maritime boundary in 48 hours, officials said on Saturday.
30 fishermen from Rameswaram were arrested and their five mechanised boats seized by the Navy personnel while fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to the neighbouring country, around 5 PM today, they said.
Official sources said the arrested fishermen were taken to Talaimannar by the Navy.
They had last night arrested 26 fishermen, who ventured into the sea in six mechanised vessels from Karaikal, South-East off Kodiakarai coast and took them to Kangesanthurai port in Sri Lanka, the sources said.
However, Sri Lankan Naval spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said in Colombo that the fishermen were arrested while fishing off the coast of Karainagar in the northern Jaffna peninsula for allegedly violating that country`s international maritime boundary.
They were handed over to the police in the islet of Kayts for further action, he said.
Representatives of Fishermen Associations in Rameswaram and Karaikal convened an emergency meeting and urged the authorities to take urgent steps to secure the release of all the Tamil fishermen detained in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Navy had last month arrested 53 Indian fishermen. On March 15, 34 of them were released after India summoned Sri Lanka`s Deputy High Commissioner and lodged a strong protest over the issue.