104 Indian fishermen return home
Rameswaram: As many as 104 Indian fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan navy on different dates at different places, for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary line were on Thursday handed over to Indian coast guard, a top Coast Guard official said.
Of the 104 fishermen, 61 fishermen were from Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Karaikal districts while the rest were from Rameswaram and Mandapam. They were arrested by the Sri Lankan government in batches in November and December, Mandapam Coast Guard commandant Harish More said.
The fishermen, who were released recently from Sri Lanka, were handed over to Indian coast guard officials this morning at International Maritime Boundary line (IMBL). From there, the fishermen were transported by coast guard vessels to Mandapam here and to Karaikal port respectively.
Coast Guard's Karaikal station commandant SNM Patnaik handed over the fishermen to Nagapattinam district collector S Pazhanisamy. Collector Pazhanisamy said of the 61 fishermen, 29 belonged to Nagapattinam, 22 to Pudukottai and 10 from Karaikal.
In a goodwill gesture ahead of the Pongal festival, Sri Lanka had on January 14 decided to release 104 Indian fishermen arrested by the country's navy for allegedly poaching in the country's territorial waters.