Lankan Navy detains 1,024 Indian fishermen

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Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Jul 3 (UNI) The Sri Lankan Navy detained 1,024 Indian fishermen and beat them up severely for illegal poaching in Lankan territorial waters but later set them free late last night.

Official sources said a group of 718 mechanized fishing trawlers had ventured into the sea for fishing yesterday morning. While they were fishing at mid sea late last night a flotilla of Sri Lankan Naval ships intercepted 256 mechanized boats with 1,024 Indian fishermen and took them to Talaimannar jetty for interrogation.

Some of the detained fishermen were allegedly beaten up by the Lankan Navy. The Navy personnel seized some GPS equipments, mobile phones and prawns from the fishermen and later set them free.

Most of the fishing trawlers started reaching the shores safely.

When contacted by UNI, Government of Tamil Nadu, Department of Fisheries, Assistant Director (Marine), S Velpandiyan said ''the Indian fishermen were interrogated by the Lankan Navy to check their identity. One of the fishermen lodged a complaint with the fisheries department over the incident. We are verifying the incident,'' he added.

Meanwhile, several fishermen associations have condemned the high handedness of the Sri Lankan Navy and urged the Centre and State Governments to take steps to protect the lives of fishermen.

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