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24 more Indian fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy, repatriated to India

Following the recent announcement of repatriation of 24 fishermen by the High Commission of India in Colombo, the total number of fishermen released and returned to India by Sri Lanka in April reaches 48.

Edited By: Shubham Bajpai Colombo Published on: April 26, 2024 19:33 IST
24 Indian fishermen repatriated to India
Image Source : ANI 24 Indian fishermen repatriated to India

Twenty-four Indian fishermen, caught by Sri Lankan navy, have been repatriated to India. The High Commission of India in Colombo said that all the fishermen boarded from Colombo and were on their way home. The recent repatriation marks the third release of Indian fishermen from Sri Lanka in April alone. Earlier on April 24, 5 fishermen were released by Sri Lanka and were repatriated back home. Before this, 19 other Indian fishermen were sent back to India by Sri Lankan authorities on April 3. 

The recurring issue of fishermen trespassing into each other's territorial waters has been a point of contention between the two neighboring countries. There have been several incidents of Sri Lankan Navy officials even firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and confiscating their boats for allegedly entering Sri Lankan territorial waters illegally. The Palk Strait is a narrow waterway between the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka which is a rich ground of fishing for the fishermen of both the South Asian countries. However, frequent arrests and confrontations occur as fishermen often cross maritime boundaries.

According to reports, the island nation’s Navy has so far held 23 Indian trawlers and detained 178 Indian fishermen, for allegedly fishing in Sri Lankan waters in 2024. Similarly in 2023, Sri Lankan Navy apprehended 240 Indian fishermen along with 35 trawlers for allegedly fishing in Sri Lankan waters. Expressing concern over the apprehension of Indian fishermen, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in February this year. “I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the alarming increase in incidents of apprehension of Tamil fishermen and their boats by the Sri Lankan authorities”, stated Stalin. Moreover, he urged the PM to renew the Joint Action Group to resolve the issues.

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