With 10 fresh arrests, 109 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody now

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With 10 fresh arrests, 109 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody now

Fishermen who venture into the sea for their livelihood are frequently arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of crossing the international maritime border.

A day after the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 10 Indian fishermen for allegedly fishing near Neduntheevu in the nation's waters, mother of one of the fishermen attempted self immolation in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam today.

With Thursday's arrest, the total number of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody has gone up to 109.

Fishermen who venture into the sea for their livelihood are frequently arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of crossing the international maritime border.

Fishermen in Tamil Nadu have been repeatedly seeking the Centre and state's intervention and help to safeguard their livelihood.

On the death anniversary of APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced and handed over approvals for fishermen to start alternative fishing techniques. This would promote the fishermen from venturing deep into the sea or crossing the international borders.

Fishermen in Rameshwaram have long been demanding the release of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody. Fishing families have been facing extreme condition in the Jaffna prison. In fact, a fisherman from Rameshwaram is in a very critical condition in a Sri Lankan prison and the family has been trying all possible means to bring him back to India.

"My father is old and has very high sugar. He is in a very critical condition, but we have not got any means to bring him home. We have been regularly trying to reach out for help," said Jasmin, whose father Sagayam Pichai is in Sri Lankan custody. He was arrested on September 3, 2017.

"We are only practising our livelihood. Our ancestors have been fishing in the very same coast, and now we are taking it forward. What will we do for our survival if we are asked to stop the only thing that we know in life?" questioned Emerat, a fisherman in Rameshwaram.

Only yesterday did Tamil Nadu fisheries minister Jayakumar assure that there would not be anymore fishermen arrest in Tamil Nadu by Sri Lankan government.

The ten fishermen arrested today have been remanded to Jaffna prison till 30 November, 2017. The eight Nagapattinam fishermen arrested on November 5, their jail term has also been extended to November 30.