Rameswaram: A large number of fishermen on Wednesday began a five-day fast demanding immediate steps by Central and Tamil Nadu governments for the release of five fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy in November last year on charges of smuggling drugs.

The fishermen belonging to various associations would abstain from fishing for three days as part of the protest, U Arulanandam, president of Alliance for Release of Innocent
Fishermen said.

P Emerson, R Villson, K Prasad, P Agasdas and J Langlet were arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on November 28 last on charges of smuggling drugs to the island nation.

Though the Tamil Nadu government had sanctioned Rs two lakh towards their legal assistance, the five fishermen continued to languish in Sri Lankan prison, he said demanding immediate steps to speed up their release.

Meanwhile, a group of four other fishermen, held by Sri Lankan Navy three months ago for allegedly trying to smuggle tobacco into the island in country boats, were on Wednesday released from Jaffna prison following a court order.

Quoting information received by the family members of the four fishermen, Arulanandam said the court had ordered them to pay Rs 1.5 lakh each.

They were expected to reach here in two days, he said.


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