New Delhi: As many as 1,452 Indian fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy this year for allegedly entering the island nation’s waters, government said on Thursday, 11 December.
Defence minister A.K. Antony told the Rajya Sabha that the fishermen, who were caught since January this year, were later released following the intervention of Indian High Commission in Colombo.
“Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has taken enough steps to protect the Indian fishermen from abduction and harassment by Sri Lankan Navy,” Antony said, highlighting the concerns of the government over such arrests of fishermen, mainly from Tamil Nadu.
Besides continuous surveillance and patrolling by the ICG and Indian Navy ships along the coast in this area, Antony said fishermen were advised by ICG ships on patrol through community interaction programmes not to cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) into Sri Lankan waters.
“However, there are few instances of fishing boats crossing the IMBL for lucrative fish catch,” he added.
Tamil Nadu government and political parties have been seeking intervention of the Centre by taking the issue of fishermen being “abducted and harassed” by Lankan navy time and again.