Sri Lanka to release Indian fishermen soon

June 23, Colombo: The government of Sri Lanka said Thursday that it will soon release the 23 Indian fishermen arrested for fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

“Following the due process of the law, they are expected to be released at an early date,” Sri Lankan high commission in India said in a statement.

Sri Lankan Navy arrested five Indian trawlers with the 23 fishermen on June 20, while they were fishing in the Sri Lankan waters of about 6 nautical miles off the coast of Thalaimannar, the statement pointed out.

The authorities clarified that the incident had occurred “close to Mannar, off the Pesalai coast, just 06 NM away from the Sri Lankan shores” and not near the island of Kachchativu as reported in Indian media.

The government said, although functioning Global Positioning Systems (GPS) were installed in the trawlers, the fishermen were fishing in the Sri Lankan waters.

According to the Sri Lankan authorities, the 23 Indian fishermen have been arrested for violating the IMBL and are in judicial custody at present in Sri Lanka along with their boats.

“Following the due process of the law, they are expected to be released at an early date,” the authorities said in the statement.

“The fishermen are being treated in a humane manner, respecting their dignity. The relevant authorities in Sri Lanka expect to repatriate the fishermen and the boats as soon as the judicial process is completed,” the statement added.

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