Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Monday assured the families of five fishermen who were sentenced to death by a Sri Lankan court that they will be freed through appropriate measures.
The family members of P Emerson, R Wilson, P Augustus, J Langlet and K Prasath of Rameswaram called on Panneerselvam here today. They apprised the Chief Minister about their plight and sought help.
Emerging out of the meeting, the family members told waiting mediapersons that Panneerselam had assured them that the "five innocent fishermen will be freed through appropriate measures and channels."
On October 30, the Colombo High Court sentenced to death the five fishermen on charges of allegedly smuggling heroin into Sri Lanka. They were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in November 2011.
India has, however, categorically said that the five are innocent. Soon after the judgement, spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry, Syed Akbaruddin said the government would appeal against the ruling. He also said that India is in touch with Lankan authorities on the issue.
The Colombo verdict outraged fishermen communities, the political parties and the civil society.
Protests were held by fishermen and political parties across Tamil Nadu. Ramanathapuram District in the State was paralysed for two days owning to protests.