Sri Lanka releases Indian fishermen (Lead, changing dateline)

February 18th, 2011 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 18 (IANS) All the 136 Indian fishermen detained early this week by Sri Lanka for straying into its waters were released Friday. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has detained four Sri Lankan fishermen and their boat for entering into Indian waters off the Rameswaram coast, an official said. The 136 Indian fishermen were released by a Jaffna court and are expected to reach home later Friday.

The mass scale arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka has created a major uproar in the country and India has conveyed its deep concern to the island nation.

The fishermen hailing form Akkaraipettai and Keechankuppam villages had gone fishing on Feb 12 and did not return home.

The Indian fishermen were earlier detained by the island nation’s fishermen on the charge of straying into their territorial waters.

With assembly elections around the corner, the ruling DMK and opposition parties held statewide protests demanding freeing of the Indian fishermen.

Last month, two Indian fishermen were killed by the Sri Lankan Navy forcing India to send Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to convey India’s concern and seek the island nation’s assurance that such attacks do not recur.

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