Sri Lankan government has ordered release of 16 Indian fishermen from custody while process is on to release 144 others. Government sources told our AIR correspondent that orders have been issued to Kayts court for release of 16 fishermen, who were arrested on charges of poaching into Sri Lankan waters. They are likely to be repatriated back to India after couple of days.
The total number of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody is 160 and legal procedure is on to get rest of them released. These fishermen were arrested in different groups since beginning of August. Our correspondent reports that Sri Lankan government has been releasing the fishermen on a regular basis on humanitarian grounds but fishing boats are retained for a longer period. Fishing issue has been a lingering problem between the two countries and both sides have formed a Joint Working Group to discuss the issue.