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Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy

At least 32 fishermen detained for alleged poaching off the Delft island coast, reports say.

Last updated: 04 Mar 2014 14:04
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At least 32 Indian fishermen have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the country's waters off the Deft islet coast in Jaffna, reports say.

The incident occurred on Monday, a day before Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was scheduled to hold talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Mahinda Rajapakse, NDTV reported. 

The private Indian channel quoted a Sri Lankan official as saying that eight trawlers had also been seized.

Fisheries ministry spokesman Narendra Rajapaksa was quoted as saying the Indian fishermen had violated an accord reached during January's bilateral talks to stop bottom trawling.

Singh and Rajapakse are due to meet on Tuesday in the Myanmar capital during the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation summit.

Relations between the two countries have been strained over Colombo's alleged human rights abuses during the final stages of its military offensive against its Tamil Tiger rebels that finally ended the country's protracted civil war.

Mindful of the sentiments of its own Tamil population, particularly in the view of impending general elections, New Delhi wants Colombo to investigate the alleged excesses.

Repeated arrests of each other's fishermen by either country for alleged poaching also remain a bone of contention.

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