Sri Lanka arrests 37 Indian fishermen

Colombo, Oct. 15 (ANI): The Sri Lankan navy arrested 37 Indian fishermen for poaching in Sri Lankan waters, a navy spokesman has said.

Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Xinhua that the fishermen had been arrested overnight after they crossed the international maritime boundary line in the northern seas.

A group of 22 fishermen were arrested and their boats seized off Thalaimannar in the north while another group of 15 Indian fishermen were arrested off the Delft Islands, also in the north.

The navy spokesman said the fishermen will be brought shore and handed over to the police for further investigations.

The issue of fishermen from both countries crossing the maritime boundary line illegally has been a contentious problem for India and Sri Lanka.

Indian fishermen often accuse the Sri Lankan navy of attacking them when they enter Sri Lankan waters, a charge the Sri Lankan navy denies.

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid discussed the issue with President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he visited Sri Lanka recently, Xinhua reported.

It was agreed that the best way forward would be to facilitate a dialogue between fishing communities of both countries so that the fishermen themselves can find solutions to their problems.

Recently several Indian fishermen who were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy were released and sent back to India while many others still remain in detention. (ANI)

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