Sri Lanka to release 29 Indian fishermen

Gill Saab

Yaar Malang
Colombo, June 3 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the release of 29 Indian fishermen arrested last week for poaching in Sri Lankan waters, media reported Tuesday.

The Indian fishermen were the first batch to be arrested since Narendra Modi took office as Indian prime minister last week, Xinhua reported.

They were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy off Thalaimannar in the north of the country Saturday and handed over to the fisheries department.

The Lankan navy said the Indians were poaching in Sri Lankan waters when they were arrested. Following their arrest, the navy also seized six boats of the detained Indian fishermen.

The fishermen issue figured during bilateral talks in New Delhi last week when President Rajapaksa visited the Indian capital to be present at Modi's swearing-in as prime minister.

Prior to the ceremony, President Rajapaksa had ordered the release another batch of Indians from Sri Lankan custody.