Lanka releases 136 Indian fishermen, Krishna thanks govt

 
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New Delhi/Colombo, Feb 18 (PTI) Sri Lanka today released136 Indian fishermen apprehended for allegedly poaching in itswaters, following which External Affairs Minister S M Krishnathanked Colombo for the support.

A day after India conveyed its deep concern over thedetention of Indian fishermen and sought their release, thefishermen along with their boats were released by Sri Lankanauthorities following a court order.

"Today I got the message from (Sri Lankan ExternalAffairs Minister G L) Peiris that all the 136 fishermen havebeen released and Sri Lankan government has very successfullyintervened and instructed the Attorney General of Sri Lankaand his subordinates to facilitate the release," Krishna toldreporters.

Krishna said though India was happy, at the same time hehas a "very special appeal" to make to the fishermen of TamilNadu and other regions that they should confine themselves tothe Indian waters instead of straying into Sri Lankan watersleading to such abrasions.

"I am glad that the episode has ended to oursatisfaction. I would like to thank Sri Lankan government fortheir gesture," the Minister said.

According to a Sri Lankan defence official in Colombo,the fishermen will be escorted to Indian maritime border bythe Sri Lankan Navy.

The move followed a high-level meeting between the SriLankan defence official and Indian diplomats in Colombo.

Out of the 136 Indian fishermen, 112 were caught lastTuesday by a group of local fishermen and handed over to thepolice there.

Reacting to the incident, Krishna had yesterday spoken toPeiris and conveyed India''s "deep concern" over the detentionof fishermen, asking the Sri Lankan government to take"necessary" steps to get them released.

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