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Kin of Lankan fishermen in Indian custody seek early release

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Over 100 relatives of Sri Lankan fishermen, who are in Indian custody, today staged a sit-in here and demanded speedier action for their release.

The fishermen's relatives held protests in front of the Ministry of Fisheries and Minister Rajitha Senaratne.

"They highlighted the difference of treatment meted out by the Lankan and Indian authorities," Sri Rajapaksha, the ministry spokesman, told PTI.

Some 107 fishermen and their 21 trawlers are under Indian custody for breaching the International Maritime Boundary Line across the Palk Strait.

Most of them from the western coast belt have been in jails since August, a Sri Lankan official said.

The fishermen's relatives told Senaratne that the Sri Lankan government takes swift action to release the Indian fishermen who trespass into Lankan waters, but the Indian authorities do not reciprocate, Rajapaksha said.

"The minister explained to them the diplomatic action the minister had initiated to secure their release," he said.

Some of the relatives, however, charged that the Ministry was not doing enough as they protested in front of the ministry compound.

The issue of fishermen indulging in illegal fishing is a major irritant in India-ties.

First Published: Wed, November 20 2013. 21:06 IST