Local fishermen's associations today expressed regret over President Maithripala Sirisena's remark that he has clearly instructed the island nation's navy to seize boats that violate the country's territorial waters. Fishermen's Association leaders N J Bose and N Devadass told reporters here that these remarks were regrettable, coming at a time when the next round of their talks are to be held in Colombo to sort out the issue and that the Sri Lankan President should reconsider his stand. The Indian fishermen claimed that they had a right to fish in these waters. Sri Lankan Opposition group National Freedom Front had alleged that the government had given fishing rights to Indians in Sri Lankan waters as an 'appeasement' policy towards India. "We have not allowed fishing in our waters for the Indians.
I have given clear instructions to navy to arrest boats or trawlers that violate our water limits," Sirisena had told a gathering of fishing industry and political representatives last night. The two countries held fishermen-level talks in Chennai last month.