Fishermen, who staged a demonstration in front of the fisheries department office here today, said the Union government should act swiftly to ensure the release of their colleagues by June 12 as they had been remanded till that date.

If the arrested fishermen were not released by then, they would resort to a state-wide strike, Fishermen's Association President S Emirit and its secretary Sesudoss told reporters. They also advised fishermen not to cross the International Maritime Boundary line and enter Lankan waters.
     
They thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for urging PM Modi to help secure release of the fishermen and said they were left with no other option except fishing in the Palk Straits.

"Due to continuous attacks and arrests of fishermen, many had moved to other coastal areas for fishing. There is no other industry in drought hit Ramanathapuram and agriculture is also not possible," their statement said.

They said the Navy or Coast Guard should not arrest Sri Lankan fishermen too as they also depend only on traditional fishing areas just as their Indian counterparts.
        
After a 45-day ban on fishing, imposed to enable fish breeding, the 14 fishermen had ventured into the sea from the Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district yesterday. They were arrested by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in that country's waters near Katchatheevu and later taken to Talaimannar coast along with their three boats.

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