Eight Indian fishermen were arrested on Thursday by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly fishing near Neduntheevu in the country’s northern territorial waters, the Sri Lankan Navy said in Colombo.
The Navy personnel, during a routine patrol onboard a fast gunboat and a fast attack craft attached to the Northern Naval Command, also seized two trawlers of the fishermen when they were illegally fishing in the north-west of the Delft Island.
The fishermen were brought to the naval base SLNS Uththara in Kankesanthurai and later handed over, along with trawlers, to the Assistant Fisheries Director of Jaffna for further legal action, the Navy said.
This is the third instance of Indian fishermen being arrested this month by the Sri Lankan Navy.
Meanwhile, Assistant Director of Fisheries in Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu, Kumaresan said the fishermen belonged to Jagadapattinam in Pududottai district.
They were arrested while fishing off Neduntheevu by the Lankan naval men and taken to Kangesanthurai port there, he added.
According to President of the Rameswaram Fishermen Association, S Emerit, in another incident, the Sri Lankan authorities snapped the fishing nets of over 50 boats and chased away more than 1,500 fishermen from Rameswaram, who were fishing near Katchatheevu islet.
The arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy has become a flashpoint in India-Sri Lanka relations.
On January 4, at least 13 Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, prompting Chief Minister K Palaniswami to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to secure their release.
While on January 16, Sri Lankan Navy arrested at least 16 Indian fishermen and seized their four fishing trawlers for allegedly fishing near Katchatheevu islet.
Sri Lankan Navy personnel had, on January 7, chased away over 4,000 Tamil Nadu fishermen and also snapped the fishing nets of 100 boats for allegedly fishing in the territorial waters off Katchatheevu islet.
While on January 9, over 3,500 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were chased away by the Lankan naval personnel who had damaged some boats by pelting stones and snapped the fishing nets of around 50 vessels.