Sri Lanka arrests 10 more Indian fishermen for trespassing

Sri Lanka arrests 10 more Indian fishermen

Colombo: In a fresh incident of tension between the two neighboring countries, the Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 10 Indian fishermen and seized their boats for allegedly fishing in the country’s territorial waters. This information was given in an official release issued on Monday by the Sri Lankan Navy.

The arrest and seizure

According to the release, the fishermen were arrested on Sunday off Point Pedro, a coastal town north of Jaffna, and their fishing boats were seized. The release said that the fishermen were fishing in Sri Lankan waters without permission and violating the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

The 10 captured fishermen were taken to Kanakeshanthurai port and further handed over to the Melady Fisheries Inspector for legal action. The release did not mention the nationality of the fishermen, but sources confirmed that they were from India.

The ongoing issue

The issue of fishermen remains a major cause of deadlock between Sri Lanka and India, especially between the northern provinces of Sri Lanka and the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. The fishermen of both countries often cross the IMBL in search of better catch, leading to frequent clashes and arrests.

Sri Lankan Navy personnel even open fire on Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seize their boats accusing them of illegally entering Sri Lankan waters and using banned fishing methods. Many such incidents have taken place in the past, resulting in deaths, injuries, and loss of livelihood for the fishermen.

The Palk Strait is a narrow stretch of water between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka and is a rich fishing area. However, it is also a disputed territory, as both countries claim their rights over the waters and the resources.

The previous incidents

This is not the first time that Sri Lanka has arrested Indian fishermen and seized their boats. Earlier, last Saturday, Sri Lanka had arrested 12 Indian fishermen and seized three of their boats for the same reason. The fishermen were from Rameswaram and Mandapam in Tamil Nadu and were fishing near Katchatheevu, an island ceded by India to Sri Lanka in 1974.

Last year, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested a total of 240 Indian fishermen and seized 35 of their fishing boats for trespassing and poaching in Sri Lankan waters. The arrested fishermen were later released after diplomatic interventions, but their boats were not returned.

The efforts to resolve the issue

The governments of both countries have been trying to resolve the issue of fishermen through bilateral talks and joint mechanisms. They have agreed to respect the IMBL and refrain from using force against the fishermen. They have also agreed to promote sustainable and responsible fishing practices and prevent the use of harmful fishing methods such as bottom trawling.

Sri Lanka arrests 10 more Indian fishermen

However, the issue of fishermen remains unresolved, as the fishermen of both countries continue to face harassment, arrest, and violence from the other side. The fishermen also demand the restoration of their traditional fishing rights and the release of their boats. They also seek the involvement of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice to settle the maritime boundary dispute.