Sixteen Sri Lankan fishermen remaining in the custody of Karnataka officials for poaching on Indian waters await their court dates in order to be released. Disparities remain between various Indian States regarding the release of fishermen caught violating the maritime boundaries of India. Only the Tamil Nadu state government has the power to release fishermen in custody sans going through the courts,
The laws of the State of Andhra Pradesh obstruct such a release making it mandatory that the fishermen are produced before the courts. The State released 41 Sri Lankan fishermen who were in custody on July 10. Andhra courts had fined each Indian rupees 25,000 while the skipper of the boat was released on a fine of Indian rupees 60,000.
Meanwhile, on July 11, the Tamil Nadu state government ordered the release of 12 Sri Lankan fishermen with no court procedure.
Media Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Narendra Rajapaksha told The Nation that some had taken a futile effort to credit the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu for the release of 41 fishermen on a goodwill measure. He said that it was a court procedure and the Indian authorities had sent the documents related to the fining of the fishermen, to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Government also released 37 Indian fishermen yesterday. Only four Indian fishermen still remain in custody. External affairs Minister Prof. GL Pieris finished an
official visit to India yesterday.