India summons Sri Lankan envoy to protest fishermen’s detention

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : India Wednesday summoned the Sri Lankan high commissioner and lodged a formal protest against the custody of over 100 Indian fishermen in the island nation.

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    According to official sources, the high commissioner was summoned to South Block and it was pointed out to him that the delay in release of Indian fishermen not only deprives the fishermen of their livelihood but also causes anxiety to their family members.

    The Indian High Commission in Colombo too raised the matter formally with the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Wednesday.

    Currently there are 114 Indian fishermen and 21 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody held over various periods of upto two months, the sources said.

    The Consulate General of India in Jaffna is in regular touch with the Indian fishermen who are in Sri Lankan custody and has been providing them basic necessities and medical attention whenever required.

    The source said the demarche follows the issue being previously raised by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid with the Sri Lankan Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse during his visit to New Delhi in July.

    The issue also figured in the discussions between National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Sri Lankan authorities during his visit to Colombo in July, the source said

    The development comes as a court in Mannar in Sri Lanka Wednesday extended to Aug 16 the remand of 21 fishermen who were arrested by the island nation’s navy July 6.

    Eight fishermen from Rameswaram and 13 from Mandapam were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy for reportedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line on July 6.

    According to reports, fishermen of Nagapattinam and Karaikal have decided to hoist black flags on Aug 10 in their mechanised boats and begin picket programmes along the coast if the Sri Lankan government did not release the 65 fishermen arrested on July 30.