India, Lanka release detained fishermen

February 6th, 2009 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu), Feb 6 (IANS) Indian and Sri Lankan authorities Friday handed over to each other more than 20 fishermen who had strayed into their waters, the police said.While 22 Indian fishermen were handed over to coast guard officials earlier in the day, 21 liberated Sri Lankan fishermen are on their way home, police sources added.

According to official sources, the fishermen had strayed into the other nation’s maritime boundaries late last month and had been detained for violating immigration rules.

Naval and coast guard authorities of both nations have stepped up vigil to prevent such occurrences, an official press statement issued in state capital Chennai, 600 km north of here, said last week.

Though incidents of fishermen crossing the maritime borders are routine, authorities also suspect them of smuggling contraband supplies or ferrying wanted injured terrorists.

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