Written by Staff Writer
28 Dec, 2013 | 11:32 pm
The Indian DMK party has urged the Indian Central Government to recognise the need reach an agreement to release Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian custody and ensure the release of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody.
DMK Parliamentary Group Leader T.R. Baalu has urged the Central Government to take steps to secure the release of the Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody before Thai Pongal Festival
The Hindu newspaper reports that 213 Sri Lankan fishermen are in Indian custody while 227 Indian fishermen are currently in Sri Lankan custody.
T.R. Baalu who led a delegation of fisherman’s representatives to Delhi, speaking to The Hindu newspaper had noted that External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had agreed to talk to his Sri Lankan counterpart to facilitate the release.
Baalu adds that said that he discussed the matter with Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.
Minister of Fisheries Rajitha Senaratne is scheduled to fly to India for discussion on this issue.
Minister of Fisheries Rajitha Senaratne said, “As per the request made by the Indian High Commission , I spoke to the Attorney General and took measures to release the first group of fishermen. However, they failed to fulfill the promise of releasing Sri Lankan fishermen. I informed this to the Attorney General and a decision was made not to release anyone else. If the exchange took place according to plan, there will be no fishermen detained in either country. MP Balu had remembered that India needs an exchange programme only now. They remember this after we seized a large number of their fishing vessels. We are prepared for an exchange. This should be initiated from Tamil Nadu.”
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