Diplomatic measures to free Sri Lankan fishermen imprisoned in Andaman Islands

Oct 31, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will take diplomatic measures to get Indian authorities to free the six Sri Lankan fishermen and their boat detained in the Andaman Islands, a Minister said today.

Addressing a media briefing in Colombo today, the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has acknowledged that delay in securing the fishermen’s release had occurred.

He said the delay was due to the fact that the owner and the relatives of the fishermen had not informed the Ministry of Fisheries or the Ministry of External Affairs.

He explained that Indian officials arrest the fishermen who crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) that separates the two nations’ waters into their territory and the government has to deal with the arresting state of India according to their laws.

Two Buddhist monks from Kalpitiya where the fishermen were from commenced a fast recently demanding the release of Sri Lankan fishermen arrested by the Indian Coast Guard and imprisoned in Andaman Islands.

The monks claim the fishermen have been in custody for over one and a half years and the authorities have not taken any appropriate action to secure their release.

Head of coalition partner of Sri Lanka’s governing United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thero called on the government to intervene and bring the fishermen home soon.

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