Colombo: Sri Lanka on Friday released 34 of the 53 Indian fishermen who were taken into custody by its Navy since Wednesday.
The fishermen were handed over to Indian officials in Delft from where they will be brought to Jaffna. The released fishermen would stay in Jaffna pending repatriation.

"The strenuous efforts made by the Indian High Commission in Colombo and the Consulate General in Jaffna led to the release of 34 fishermen at Delft. The Mission is also in contact with the Lankan authorities to get the rest freed," an official said.

Thirty four Indian fishermen were captured on Thursday near islet of Delft in the northern Jaffna district by Lankan Navy for "trespassing and poaching in Sri Lankan waters" while 19 were arrested near northern seas of Mannar on Wednesday.

Reacting to the arrests, the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi had yesterday summoned Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner. The Deputy High Commissioner was told that the fishermen should be treated humanely and that the Lankan Navy should be restrained in action against them. The Deputy High Commissioner was also told that Lanka should ensure swift return of the fishermen.


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