Sri Lanka frees 86 Indian fishermen

Colombo, March 13: Sri Lanka on Friday released 86 Indian fishermen as a goodwill measure to mark the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the island nation.

A court in the northern province of Jaffna set free 43 Indians while a court in the eastern province of Trincomalee freed another 43, Xinhua reported.

Fishing boat

President Maithripala Sirisena had earlier this week ordered the release of the Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody to coincide with Modi's visit.

The navy had arrested the 86 for poaching in Sri Lankan waters last month. The fishermen were arrested east of Mullaitivu, in the north, and their boats were also seized.

Sirisena had this week expressed the hope that Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian custody will also be set free as a goodwill gesture.

Modi is currently in Sri Lanka on a two-day state visit and said that the long-standing fishermen row between the two countries was a complex one involving the livelihood and humanitarian concerns on both sides.


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