‘Repatriation of Indian fishermen from Lanka soon’

The repatriation of 22 Indian fishermen detained by SL Navy could take a couple of days as the process had been affected by "inclement weather.

Colombo: The repatriation of 22 Indian
fishermen and their boats detained by Sri Lankan Navy could
take a couple of days as the process had been affected by
"inclement weather", an Indian official said here on Thursday.

The Indian Consul General in northern Jaffna district has
asked for Tamil Nadu`s help to retrieve the Indian fishing
boats which have run aground off Sri Lanka`s northern coast.

"We have asked for rescue boats from Tamil Nadu. But this
needs Sri Lankan government approval," V Mahalingam said.

He hoped that the repatriation process could be completed
in a couple of days.

"The process has got affected by the inclement weather
prevailing," the Indian Consul General said.

Mahalingam said that five of the 22 rescued fishermen
were taken to inspect and report back on the condition of the
boats today.

He said the Lankan Navy feels that the boats had got
trapped among the reef.

The Indian official said the Sri Lankan Navy had extended
maximum co-operation since the five boats were detected by
them on December 20 off two Jaffna islets.

The Sri Lankan Navy rescued the fishermen and after their
magisterial release they are now being put up in a Jaffna
residence pending formalities for repatriation.

However, earlier reports from Tamil Nadu quoting
officials said the twenty-two fishermen from Jagadapattinam
and other coastal villages in Pudukottai district were taken
into custody by Sri lankan Naval personnel when they were
fishing near Katchatheevu in the Palk straits.

PTI

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