Police keep a watch as fishermen stage a protest against the Sri Lankan Government, in Rameshwaram. (Photo: PTI)
Chennai: As many as 47 fishermen, who had been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, were released after the intervention of the Central government, arrived here today morning.
Fishermen from Rameswaram, Nagapattinam and Pudukottai districts in the state were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy when they ventured into the sea for fishing in December 2021. In December alone, as many as 56 fishermen were arrested and nine boats, fishing nets, and other gear was confiscated. The arrested fishermen were produced before the courts in Sri Lanka and imprisoned.
Following this, the Tamil Nadu government wrote a letter to the Union Minister of External Affairs. Immediately, the Central Government and the Government of Tamil Nadu took steps for the release of the fishermen.
Then, a Sri Lankan court released 56 Tamil Nadu fishermen in January. All of them were handed over to the Indian embassy officials in Sri Lanka.
While the embassy was taking steps to send them back, it was found that several fishermen were infected with COVID-19. So they could not be sent to India immediately and were treated in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the families of the fishermen urged the Sri Lankan court to take immediate action to send the fishermen back to Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil Nadu government informed the Central Government and demanded that action should be initiated to bring the fishermen to Tamil Nadu. At the request of the Tamil Nadu government, the Indian Embassy sent those fishermen who were not infected with the virus on February 10.
Following this, 47 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrived at the Chennai International Airport at 4.20 am today. They were welcomed by the state fisheries department officials.