Sri Lankan Navy arrests 25 Tamil Nadu fishermen, protests begin

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Hours after the arrests, the protest disrupted traffic on Pamban Road for about an hour. Release our fishermen immediately. We are already struggling with our country boats in the raging seas. Five families have lost their livelihood due to the arrests, said protester Arokia Mary.

The Sri Lankan navy on Monday arrested at least 25 fishermen and seized four boats for allegedly crossing the maritime border. The arrests triggered protests by fishermen in Rameswaram and families of those detained demonstrated by standing in seawater and blocking roads. Hours after the arrests, the protest disrupted traffic on the Pamban Road for nearly an hour. Release our fishermen immediately. We are already seeing our country’s boats battling the raging sea waves. Five families have lost their livelihood due to the arrests, said protester Arokia Mary.

At least 50 fishermen had left the port and were surrounded by the Lankan Navy while fishing near Neduntheevu and arrested 25 of them. After a preliminary investigation, the arrested fishermen were handed over to Jaffna Fisheries Department officials. The officials held talks with the protesters and assured them of the release of the fishermen, leading to the temporary withdrawal of the protest. These arrests come days after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to ensure the release of all fishermen arrested so far by the Sri Lankan Navy.

According to government records, more than 150 fishermen have been arrested in Lankan waters so far this year. However, arrests of fishermen have been declining since 2014, when more than 800 fishermen were arrested.

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