Chennai: The Sri Lankan Navy Wednesday detained over 220 Indian fishermen and later released them, unconfirmed reports said.
"Over 220 Indian fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy and taken to Sri Lanka. As of now, we are told that all the fishermen have been released. We are trying to confirm that. Fishermen in around 15 boats have confirmed they have been released," an official of the Tamil Nadu fisheries department told a news agency over phone from Nagapattinam, around 320 km from here.
The official said the fishermen were fishing in the Palk Strait. He said the fishermen in 28 boats are from Tamil Nadu while four vessels are from the Karaikal region in Puducherry.
Strongly condemning the incident, PMK leader S. Ramadoss, in a statement, said the fishermen were fishing in Indian waters when the Sri Lankan Navy trespassed and arrested them besides seizing their fishing boats.
The detention of Indian fishermen in large numbers and their boats is to be condemned strongly, Ramadoss said. "It is a challenge to India`s sovereignty," he said.