Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 19 Indian fishermen and seized five boats when they were allegedly fishing in the country's waters. A total of 19 fishermen were arrested north of the Jaffna Delft islet late on Saturday night, navy spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said in Colombo on Sunday.
Warnakulasuriya said Indians were arrested as they had entered Sri Lankan waters defying recent agreements reached at talks between both the countries. They have been brought to the Kankesanturai port, he added.
The navy official said the latest arrest has raised the number of Indians in Sri Lankan captivity since the talks to 57. In Tamil Nadu, officials said the fishermen were part
of a group of about 4,000 fishermen who had put out to sea on Saturday night from the coastal town of Rameswaram and Jegathapattinam and Kottaipattinam hamlets.
The officials said the Sri Lankan naval personnel came in three boats and detained the fishermen, who were fishing near Katchateevu islet. The naval personnel also cut the fishing nets of 20 boats and took them away, they said.
During a meeting last month, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Sri Lankan counterpart G L Peiris have agreed that the two sides would remain engaged to ensure that fishermen on both sides can continue to pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.