Rameswaram: Eleven fishermen from Tamil Nadu have been taken into custody by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly fishing in the island`s territorial waters near Neduntheevu, police said here on Thursday.
The fishermen hailing from Mandapam, Thangatchimadam here and Jegadhapattinam in Pudukkottai District were detained by Sri Lankan naval forces along with three mechanized boats near Neduntheevu island yesterday, `Q` Branch police sources
The sources said Sri Lankan authorities had informed Tamil Nadu police that the arrested fishermen had been lodged in Neduntheevu Police Station for investigation.
N Devadoss, secretary of Rameswaram Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association, appealed to the Centre to take immediate steps for securing the release of the 11 fishermen.
He alleged the Sri Lankan Navy was frequently attacking Indian fishermen and their act of arresting "the innocent" would affect the fishing industry.
Maintaining that Indian fishermen were only fishing in sea and not indulged in any crime, he said the Central Government should ensure the release of those arrested without
registration of cases.
Incidents of Tamil Nadu fishermen being attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan Naval personnel and fishermen over trans-border fishing has been an issue in the state for long.
Yesterday, three fishermen were injured and several others lost their nets when they were attacked allegedly by their Sri Lankan counterparts in mid-sea close toInternational Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) off Danushkodi here.
The local fishermen had staged a strike last month demanding protection to them and restoration of traditional fishing rights around Katchatheevu, an islet in Palk Strait
ceded by India to Sri Lanka under an agreement in the 70s, which has rich fish wealth.
Responding to the issue raised by political parties, including the ruling DMK, the central government had said it could protect the fishermen as long as they did not cross
India`s maritime boundary.