Sri Lanka urged to free fishermen before the Pongal festival

In a letter to Mr. Jaishankar, the forum also pointed out that fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are incarcerated and their boats confiscated. The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) in India has appealed to the Indian Union Ministry of External Affairs to ensure the early release of Indian fishermen who are languishing in Sri Lankan jails before Pongal festival and their boats, The Hindu newspaper reported.S. Jaishankar, Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs, is on an official trip to Sri Lanka to discuss various issues concerning the relationship of both the countries. “Right now, there are 114 fishermen languishing in various prisons of Sri Lanka and 75 boats were confiscated. Apart from venturing for fishing to earn their livelihood, they have not committed any criminal act. Their boats are deteriorating since no maintenance was undertaken”, said the forum chairperson M. Elango. The forum also requested Mr. Jaishankar to impress upon the Sri Lankan Government to release the fishermen and their boats before the Pongal.The forum also expressed hope that the Secretary would be able to announce a proper date for the fourth round of dialogue of the fishermen between both countries after holding discussion with Sri Lankan authorities. (Colombo Gazette)

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