Sri Lanka arrests dozens of Indian fishermen

Country's navy says it has seized 29 fishermen week after Sri Lankan president held talks with Indian PM on the issue.

    Sri Lanka arrests dozens of Indian fishermen
    Attempts by fishing communities in India and Sri Lanka to resolve the problem have ended in failure [AP]

    Sri Lanka's navy said it had seized 29 Indian fishermen, the first arrests since President Mahinda Rajapaksa and India's new prime minister held talks on resolving the thorny issue of maritime trespassing and poaching.

    The navy arrested the Indians along with six trawlers off the island's northwest coast on Sunday, a navy statement said.

    "The arrested fishermen and the trawlers were handed over to the officials of the department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources...for legal action," it said.

    Sri Lanka releases detained Indian fishermen

    It was the first arrest since Rajapaksa ordered the release of all Indian fishermen from Sri Lankan jails as a goodwill gesture marking the swearing-in of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Sri Lankan official sources said that there were only five Indian fishermen in custody at the time for alleged drug-smuggling. They had been languishing in jail since 2011.

    During their bilateral talks in New Delhi, Rajapaksa and Modi agreed to continue official-level talks for a permanent solution to poaching which had become a major irritant in relations.

    The two countries are separated by a narrow strip of sea known as the Palk Strait which is also a rich fishing ground.

    Al Jazeera previously reported on Sri Lanka's release of detained Indian fisherman in March, to thank India for abstaining from a United Nations vote to investigate alleged human rights abuses during the island country's civil war.

    SOURCE: AFP


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