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25 Indian Fishermen Arrested in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Navy today arrested 25 Indian fishermen for allegedly poaching in the country's waters, days after the two sides agreed to resolve the issue that has become an irritant in bilateral ties.

Naval spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said 25 fishermen were arrested north of Jaffna's Delft island during the wee hours. Their six trawlers were seized.

The fishermen will be handed over to police at Kankesanturai harbour.

Last week, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar held talks with Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Rajitha Senaratne in New Delhi on the issue of fishermen during which the two countries decided to release over 400 fishermen.

So far, both India and Sri Lanka have released 52 fishermen each.

There are still 240 Indians in Sri Lankan custody for allegedly poaching in Lankan waters while 160 Sri Lankans are held by India, according to official figures.

The arrests came ahead of a January 27 meeting of a joint committee appointed to work out a mechanism to look into the issue so that fishermen, who might have inadvertently crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line, are released in a time-bound manner in future.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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