The 19 Indian fishermen, who were reported missing since May 5 after heading out to sea from Thangachimadam near Rameswaram, have been taken into custody by Sri Lankan naval personnel, according to the coastal security police.
They told PTI on Wednesday night that the Sri Lankan naval personnel had nabbed them, probably for crossing into their territorial waters by accident.
The fishermen had left from Thangachimadam Coastal area near Rameswaram in four boats on May 5 and did not return home since then.
Earlier in the day, Fisheries Minister K P P Swamy informed Tamil Nadu assembly that the Navy had launched search operations to locate the fishermen.
The minister statement came in response to a query from Jayakumar of AIADMK, who raised the issue and expressed apprehensions that the missing fishermen may have been kidnapped by some terrorist organisation or taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy.