Date: 14 February 2022
Third time in past two months, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 12 Indian fishermen from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, and seized two boats on the charge of poaching and crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), on Saturday i.e., 12 February 2022. As per the fishermen in Rameswaram, more than 400 mechanised boats had put out to sea with over 1,200 fishermen on Friday. When two of them were fishing near the Dhanushkodi-Thalaimannar region, the Sri Lankan Navy intercepted them and took 12 fishermen on board to a camp in Jaffna. The 12 fishermen, who were detained at Iranaitheevu Naval Base, were produced at Kilinochchi Court on Sunday. They were remanded in custody till February 25 and lodged at Jaffna Prison.
After the action, the Sri Lankan Navy released a statement saying, “SL Navy is conducting regular patrols and operations to curb illegal fishing activities. Accordingly, the North Central Naval Command conducted an operation in sea north of Talaimannar and seized two Indian trawlers that were engaging in illegal ‘bottom trawling’ fishing method in Sri Lankan waters, via the IMBL. The Navy will continue to carry out regular operations with a view to protect fish resources of the country and local fishermen’s livelihoods.”
On Sunday Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, said, “Today, yet another incident has been reported and 12 fishermen from Rameswaram have been apprehended. Such incidents are happening with alarming regularity, causing deep distress to the people of Tamil Nadu.” He wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking immediate measures to ensure their release and called for a lasting solution to the problem and suggested that bilateral talks be convened with SL and press for the resumption of negotiations through a meeting of the Joint Working Group. “As the COVID-19 situation has eased, I request you to press for the resumption of deliberations through the Joint Working Group Meeting (JWG) immediately. I also urge you to take immediate steps to expedite the release of 41 fishermen from Tamil Nadu,” Stalin said.