The 16 Indian fishermen freed from the Sri Lankan prisons as a goodwill gesture ahead of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe’s India visit, arrived at the Karikal port on Wednesday evening.
According to fisheries officials, the 16 fishermen, included nine from Nagapattinam, four from Ramanathapuram and three from Pudukkottai districts.
On three separate incidents, the 16 fishermen on board three mechanised vessels were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel on September 1 for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
After 13 days of ordeal, the Sri Lankan government on Sunday released the 16 fishermen as a goodwill gesture prior to the visit of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe to New Delhi.
Subsequently, the fishermen were produced before the court in Sri Lanka and were ordered for release on Monday.
After finishing the formalities, the 16 fishermen were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard personnel on board the patrol vessel ICGS Rani Abbakka by the Sri Lankan navy personnel at the IMBL on Wednesday morning.
Subsequently, the Coast Guard patrol vessel ferried them back to Karaikal port where they were handed over to the Nagapattinam fisheries officials on Wednesday evening. They were given relief materials and sent to their respective hamlets in vans arranged by the fisheries department.
Meanwhile, the fishermen representatives of Nagapattinam, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram have sought the Central and State governments to make diplomatic efforts for retrieving 30 fishing boats under the custody of the Island nation. ( ENS)