In a goodwill gesture the Sri Lankan government on Monday has ordered the release of all 77 Tamil Nadu fishermen who had been languishing in recent months in various jails in northern Sri Lanka for allegedly trespassing into their territorial waters.
While these fishermen are from the coastal districts of Ramanathapuram including Rameswaram Island, Pudukkottai and Nagapattinam, the Press Trust of India, however, reported that Sri Lanka ordered the release of only 49 of those 77 fishermen.
The Rameswaram fishermen, mostly those owning mechanised trawlers recently launched an indefinite strike, demanding immediate intervention by the Narendra Modi at the Centre and the Jayalalithaa government in the State to impress upon Colombo to release all the arrested fishermen and also free their 111 seized boats. The arrests of the Tamil Nadu fishermen this season has been on since May 31 this year, it may be recalled.
Of the 77 fishermen ordered to be released, 28 of them were freed by the Mannar court, six by a court in Puthalam and 43 others from a court in Oorkaavalthurai.
All the released 77 fishermen have been made to stay now at the office of the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Jaffna, the reports further said. After completing the formalities, all the fishermen are expected to return home in a day or two.
While the fishing community here is elated at the release of all the 77 fishermen, they are still sore over the non-release of their seized boats by Colombo. (Deccan Chronicle)