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Sri Lanka arrests 25 Indian fishermen

Colombo: The Sri Lanka Navy arrested 25 Indian fishermen for entering its waters illegally, the navy said Tuesday.The navy media unit said the fishermen were arrested when they crossed the international maritime boundary line of
IANS January 21, 2014 13:55 IST
IANS
Colombo: The Sri Lanka Navy arrested 25 Indian fishermen for entering its waters illegally, the navy said Tuesday.

The navy media unit said the fishermen were arrested when they crossed the international maritime boundary line of the country, Xinhua reported.

The fishermen and their boats will be handed over to the authorities to decide on the next course of action.

The arrest was the first since India and Sri Lanka held talks and decided to free all fishermen in their custody.

The issue of fishermen from both the countries crossing the international maritime boundary line has been a sensitive issue over the past few years.

India and Sri Lanka began releasing fishermen in custody ahead of the ministerial level talks last week and fishermen associations are scheduled to meet in Chennai Jan 27 to reach a final solution.

The Sri Lanka's external affairs ministry said the substantial number of fishermen, both from Sri Lankan and Indian, arrested in recent months and put in prison for entering either's territorial waters, is an issue that has called for the attention of both governments.

Sri Lanka's Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratna, however, said the Indian fishermen who poach in Sri Lankan waters will face arrest despite talks to resolve the dispute involving them between the two countries.

Senaratna said the Indians or Sri Lankans cannot cross the international maritime boundary line illegally.

He said the maritime laws would be followed and even if Sri Lankan fishermen cross into Indian waters illegally they will be arrested.