Sri Lanka releases 40 Indian fishermen:TN officials Eds: Adds reax

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Rameswaram (TN), Mar 26 (PTI) Sri Lankan authorities on Friday released 40 of the 54 Indian fishermen arrested by that country's navy earlier, officials here said.

Five of the four boats detained by the Lankan navy have also been released,Fisheries department officials here said.

The remaining 14 fishermen, hailing from Karaikal, an enclave of Puducherry, continue to remain in Sri Lankan custody and are likely to be released later, they added.

A boat is also in Lankan custody.

The Lankan Navy had arrested 54 Indian fishermen and detained five of their boats for allegedly fishing in that country's waters on Wednesday night.

The arrested fishermen belonged to Rameswaram and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Karaikal.

Fishermen association representatives had expressed concern over such repeated instances of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu being arrested by the Lankan navy and urged the Centre and state government to ensure their early release.

Meanwhile, fishermen association leader Sesuraja said on Friday they would not shun fishing operations indefinitely and also not boycott the April 6 Assembly polls, following the release of the fishermen today.

They had earlier threatened doing so if the fishermen were not released at the earliest. PTI COR SA BN BN