PM says issue of fishermen will be taken up with Lanka

New Delhi, Feb 16 (PTI) As Sri Lankan Navy apprehended118 Indian fishermen, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today saidIndia takes a "very serious view" of such incidents and wouldbe taking up the matter with the Sri Lankan government.

Singh said the Sri Lankan government has already beentold in strong terms that such a behaviour was not acceptable.

"I have been told that 118 fishermen have been takeninto custody. We are taking up this matter with the Sri LankanGovernment. We take a very serious view," he said in aninteraction with television editors here.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question aboutthe fishermen being apprehended by Sri Lankan authoritiesyesterday after they allegedly crossed over into their waters.

The arrest comes close on the heels of the killing oftwo Indian fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Singh pointed out that Foreign Secretary Nirupama Raowas sent earlier this month to Colombo to "make a strongdemarche to the Sri Lankan Government that this sort ofbehaviour is not acceptable among neighbourly countries."

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had on February 1said use of force against Indian fishermen should be part ofthe history and asked Sri Lanka to take a decision that willnot upset the bilateral ties.

A meeting of the Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group onthe issue is likely to be held this month to discuss therecent killing of the Indian fishermen threadbare.

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