Indian fishermen arrested in Sri Lanka (Second Lead)

November 18th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 18 (IANS) At least 28 Indian fishermen have been arrested in Sri Lanka for straying into that country’s waters, police sources said Tuesday. But Sri Lankan diplomats claimed only 17 were arrested and jailed.A police officer said here that fishermen who had set out to sea Monday night in 100 boats reported that seven boats and at least 28 men have been captured by the Sri Lankan Navy.

“Those who returned said the boats and their crew were being detained at Kankesanthurai in northern Sri Lanka,” the officer added.

Sri Lankan diplomats confirmed the arrest of 17 Tamil Nadu fishermen and the detention of seven boats, saying they were caught in areas prohibited for civilian movement in an island away from Kankesanthurai.

“To our knowledge only Indian fishermen were held some 200 yards from the northwestern shores of Sri Lanka deep inside our maritime boundary,” a diplomat told IANS.

The fishermen were produced in a magistrate’s court in Kayts’ Island.

“Prima facie, they seem to be genuine fishermen and should be released within three weeks unless something untoward does not emerge during their questioning,” the source added.

The detention of Indian fishermen is the first such incident in the past four months.

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