Indian Fishermen Return Home From Sri Lanka

All the 54 fishermen from Rameswaram and Pudukottai, arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday on the charge of poaching and released by the Lankan government, arrived at Mandapam, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday (25) evening.

Escorted by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), the fishermen – 33 from Rameswaram and 21 from Pudukottai – reached the south jetty of Mandapam Station of the ICG and walked out from the station after completing necessary formalities.

After the Sri Lankan navy handed them over, ICG vessel ‘Ameya’ received them at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) around 10 a.m. and brought them to the south jetty. From the jetty, the fishermen were brought to the shore in boat in batches.

Station Commander H.H. More received the fishermen and asked whether they had any inconvenience in arriving at Mandapam station. After offering refreshments, he advised them not to cross the IMBL, while venturing into the sea for fishing.

The fishermen who were arrested with their 10 trawlers, felt bad that they had to return empty-handed. The Lankan authorities had confiscated their boats, while ordering their release on Monday. Family members of Pudukottai fishermen arranged vehicles for taking the fishermen home.

Meanwhile, fishermen leader P. Sesu Raja said fishermen leaders would meet on Thursday and decide whether to continue the indefinite strike launched on Monday in the wake of release of the fishermen.

The fishermen could not afford to continue the strike as hardly half a dozen fishing days were left before the 45-day ban period commenced on April 14, the leaders said.
(With inputs from The Hindu)

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