Tamil Nadu fishermen released by Sri Lanka

Rameswaram: Four Tamil Nadu fishermen, arrested and remanded in judicial custody by Sri Lankan authorities for intruding into Lankan waters, were released on Thursday, a top coast guard official said.

Sri Lankan naval personnel handed over the fishermen to the ICG at the International Maritime Boundary Line this evening, Indian Coast Guard Commanding Officer H Harish Morre told reporters here.

The fishermen were being brought to Mandapam near here by an ICG vessel.

The official said the four had put to sea on May 30 in a mechanised fishing boat which capsized in mid-sea on June one due to strong gales. However, they managed to swim and reach Naina Island near the Lankan coast. They were arrested by Oorkavalthurai police for straying into the Lankan waters without valid documents.

On the Indian government's intervention, the Sri Lankan government released all the four today.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had requested the National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon during his visit here on June 9 en route to Colombo to take steps to secure release of the four fishermen. Menon had assured Jayalalithaa that he would take up the issues raised by her with the Sri Lankan President.