Nine Indian fishermen, detained by Sri Lankan naval personnel after they had allegedly strayed into Lankan waters, were on Wednesday set free by a court in the Island Republic, fisheries department officials here said.
Judicial Magistrate Gajapathy Balan of Kankesanturai in northern Sri Lanka ordered the release of the fishermen from Akkarapettai village near Nagapattinam when they were produced before him, assistant director of Fisheries Vivekanandan said quoting information received by the department.
The fishermen had put out to sea in a mechanised boat on June 16. While fishing off Kodiakarai coast, they were taken into custody by some Sri Lankan navy personnel on Tuesday.
Other fishermen in the vicinity returned to the shores and informed other villagers, who launched an indefinite fast, demanding that the state and central governments take steps to secure release of the fishermen.
The fishermen had strayed into Sri Lankan waters pushed by the heavy wind. After advising them not to venture into the sea if the wind was strong, the magistrate released them, Vivekanandan said.The fishermen would be brought to India on Thursday, the police said.