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Colombo will try Indian fishermen by Sandeep Dikshit August 19,2013   |  Source: The Hindu

Sri Lanka has ruled out early repatriation of over 100 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by it recently for allegedly crossing into Sri Lankan territorial waters.

Some of them have been in custody for over two months, and Colombo says they would have to undergo the judicial process though the intention is not to deprive them of their liberty for long.

“But there has be some deterrence, otherwise why won’t they come over and over again?'” asked Sri Lankan Minister for External Affairs G.L Peiris who maintained that India’s transfer of Kachchatheevu island to Sri Lanka was a settled matter and cannot be reopened.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister said that till some time back, Indian fishermen who entered Sri Lankan waters were released quickly. But as this step was not dissuasive enough, Sri Lanka planned to prosecute the current lot of arrested fishermen so that they would not venture into its waters again.

“We are anxious to resolve this problem. Our problem is they come in large numbers – about 1,500 in 400 to 500 boats. The proportion of the problem is very disquieting and is not restricted to Palk Bay. They come as close as 700 metres from Sri Lanka’s eastern sea-board. This is a very volatile issue on our side too and the duty of the Sri Lankan

 

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