As many as 40 fishermen who were arrested and imprisoned by the Sri Lankan Navy were released and brought to Chennai by flight. "Our boats and fishing nets have not been returned. Therefore, the Central and State Governments should take appropriate action to rescue the boats otherwise our livelihood will be severely affected," said one of the fishermen.
The Sri Lankan navy arrested Tamil Nadu fishermen with boats and detained them in Sri Lankan jails on December 16 and 19 for allegedly fishing across the border.
The family of the fisherman requested the Central and State Governments to take action for the release of the Tamil Nadu fishermen. Political parties in Tamil Nadu also demanded their release.
Following this, the Central Government held talks with the Government of Sri Lanka. Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar visited Sri Lanka and held talks with the Government of Sri Lanka.
Last week, 40 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan naval jails were acquitted by a Sri Lankan court and they were handed over to the Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka.
The Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka has taken steps to send Tamil Nadu fishermen to Chennai by flight. The Indian embassy also issued emergency certificates for flight travel without a passport. Also, the flight tickets for them were given by the Indian governmentFishermen arrived at the Chennai International Airport this afternoon on an Air India special passenger flight from Sri Lanka.
Resident officials investigated them for about 2 hours at the airport. Department of fisheries officials welcomed them at the Chennai Airport. Of these 40 fishermen, 29 were from Ramanathapuram, 7 from Thoothukudi and 4 from Pudukkottai. They were sent to their hometowns through separate vehicles.
"When we were fishing in the Indian Ocean, the Sri Lankan navy trespassed and arrested us with boats. They beat and kicked and tortured us. They broke the legs of some and cut off the fingers with a knife. They degraded the Indian government and Indian political leaders with ugly words.
We requested them to release us but they imprisoned and tortured us. Now we have been released with the help of the Indian government but our boats and fishing nets have not been returned. Therefore, the Central and State Governments should take appropriate action to rescue the boats. Otherwise, our livelihood will be severely affected" said one of the fishermen.