Talks fail as Lanka refuses to release Indian fishermen

Talks scheduled to reach an amicable settlement between Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen was cancelled on Tuesday as Sri Lanka refused to release 75 Indian fishermen it arrested last Thursday.

By Qadijah Irshad

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Published: Fri 28 Mar 2014, 12:33 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:45 AM

This is the second time scheduled talks regarding fishing has failed to reach the table between the two countries.

In January, the two neighbouring countries divided by just a few kilometres of sea, agreed not to poach on each others’ waters. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and Sri Lanka also asked each country to treat any fisherman arrested for poaching humanely. The two countries further agreed to release fishermen serving sentences in Sri Lanka and India.

On March 17, Sri Lanka released 172 fishermen held in the island’s jails along with the 31 boats confiscated poaching in Lankan waters. However, a day later, the Sri Lankan navy arrested 75 more Indian fishermen along with their 18 vessels for illegal fishing in Lankan waters.

According to Indian Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalilitha, the latest round of talks between India and Sri Lanka were cancelled due to Sri Lanka’s refusal to release the latest batch of Indian fishermen.

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