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Sri Lanka to release 86 fishermen ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit

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19 jailed Bangladeshi fishermen return from India
19 jailed Bangladeshi fishermen return from India

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to release 86 Indian fishermen. The release is being initiated as a goodwill gesture ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka on March 13 and 14.

Formal orders for the release of the fishermen will be issued by the Attorney General’s office today, the Colombo Page web site reports. President Maithripala, who is currently in London on an official visit, issued the instructions to his officials last evening.

The Sri Lankan Navy had arrested the 86 Indian fishermen on allegations of poaching in Sri Lankan waters on February 26 and 27. The fishermen were arrested off the eastern coast of Mullaitivu. Ten fishing boats were also seized. The Indian fishermen were placed in the custody of the Trincomalee Police.

Talks between Sri Lanka and India on the fishermen issue were taken up during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Colombo earlier this month, and it was then decided that the fishermen representative associations of the two countries would meet to iron out their issues, and present a tangible solution to the problem to the two governments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow from Mauritius.

Fishermen in Tamil Nadu have welcomed the news about the release of 86 fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan jails. They have urged both governments to take steps to end the dispute related to fishing in waters.

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