Three of four Indian fishermen set free by a court in Jaffna and among 113 recommended for release by Sri Lankan government after their arrest in recent months by its Navy on charges of fishing in their waters, arrived at Mandapam in the district today,a top official said. The other fisherman said he was staying back in the island nation as he has his roots there, Deputy Director of Fisheries, Ramanathapuram, Isak Jayakumar said. The released fishermen were met in Mandapam by family members and fisheries department officials, he said. The fishermen alleged that they were tortured in the jail in Jaffna, where they had been lodged, he said. The Sri Lankan Government had yesterday recommended the release of 113 Indian fishermen arrested over a period of time by the island nation's Navy for allegedly fishing in their waters, a fishermen association leader here had said. Quoting information received by fisheries officials in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja had said that a communication in this regard had been sent to the court in Jaffna. The fishermen from Tamil Nadu had been detained over a period of time and lodged in prisons in the neighbouring country.
Their mechanised boats had been impounded. The state government took up the issue with the Centre last month and sought their release and the boats. This is the second instance of release of Indian fishermen in large numbers since December last year. The Sri Lankan government had released 89 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the last week of December. Yesterday, a court in Jaffna set free the four fishermen, whose release was requested on an urgent basis following the death of the son of one of them here. Sesuraja said the other 109 fishermen were likely to be released in the next few days after completion of judicial process. The Indian High Commission in Sri lanka had requested for release of Jayaseelan and three of his relatives on parole following the death of his son. The Lankan government, however, recommended release of the 113 fishermen who were detained till last month. Another 27 fishermen, detained later, would still be under Lankan custody.
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