Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today ordered the release of 54 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu arrested last week by the navy for allegedly poaching in the country’s waters.
Sirisena’s order to release the Indian fishermen came just ahead of the two-day India-Sri Lanka fishermen-level talks being held in Chennai from today.
Sri Lankan Navy had arrested the 54 fishermen along with their 10 boats on March 21 when they were allegedly poaching in island’s waters.
Sirisena’s office said during his recent visit to India he had agreed with the Indian side to resolve the fishermen issue through talks.
It was, however, not clear if the boats seized would also be released along with the fishermen.
The Tamil Nadu government had last night threatened to call off the third round of fishermen-level talks if those arrested were not released by 11 am.
Sri Lanka had earlier this month also ordered the release of 86 Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters as a goodwill gesture to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian premier to this country in over 25 years.