Jan 22, 2014, 1:17 AM
News Code: 81005304
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Sri Lankan Navy arrests 25 Indian fishermen

New Delhi, Jan 22, IRNA -- The Sri Lankan Navy Tuesday arrested 25 Indian fishermen for allegedly poaching in the country's waters, days after the two sides agreed to resolve the issue that has become an irritant in bilateral ties.

Twenty five fishermen were arrested north of Jaffna's Delft island during the wee hours. Their six trawlers were seized, the PTI reported, quoting Naval spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya as said in Colombo. The fishermen will be handed over to police at Kankesanturai harbor.

Last week, the Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar held talks with the Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Rajitha Senaratne in New Delhi on the issue of fishermen during which the two countries decided to release over 400 fishermen.

So far, both India and Sri Lanka have released 52 fishermen each.

There are still 240 Indians in Sri Lankan custody for allegedly poaching in Lankan waters while 160 Sri Lankans are held by India, according to official figures.

The arrests came ahead of a January 27 meeting of a joint committee appointed to work out a mechanism to look into the issue so that fishermen, who might have inadvertently crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line, are released in a time-bound manner in future.