Sri Lankan Navy arrests eight Tamil Nadu fishermen, one attempts suicide

Fishermen in Pamban in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu continued their strike for the second day today, demanding the release of their colleagues arrested on March 2. (Representative image) Photograph:( AFP )

WION Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India Mar 04, 2017, 08.09 AM (IST)

Eight fishermen from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu were held by Sri Lankan Navy on charges of fishing in the island waters, a fisheries deartment official said.

The fishermen had gone into the sea on March 1 in a mechanised boat, Nagapattinam Joint Director of Fisheries, Amala Xavier, said. 

The fishermen were arrested by the Lankan Navy around midnight yesterday, he said.

One of the arrested fishermen, 35-year-old Sarath, allegedly attempted suicide today by swallowing shards of a broken glass botlle and has been admitted in a government hospital in Triconamalee in Eastern Sri Lanka, he added.

This is the third such incident this week with a total of 61 Indian fishermen in the custody of Sri Lanka.

On March 2, 18 fishermen -- nine from Nagapattinam district, four from Rameswaram and five from nearby Pamban -- were arrested in three batches and their boats impounded by Sri Lankan Navy at different points in the Palk Bay.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the second this week, seeking his intervention to secure the release of all the arrested fishermen.

He had said the arrests of fishermen was creating a "sense of panic and unrest among" the community in the state.

Palaniswami said the fishermen's right to life and livelihood and right to carry on with fishing in the waters of the Palk Bay were "continuously being infringed upon by Sri Lanka."

Hours after the detention of 13 fishermen on March 2, Palaniswami had written to Modi seeking his intervention.

Meanwhile, fishermen in Pamban continued their strike for the second day today, demanding the release of their colleagues arrested on March 2.

(WION with inputs from PTI)