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Sri Lankan statement on fishermen signifies rising tension on maritime boundary by Jayaraj Sivan & J Arockiaraj August 20,2013   |  Source: TNN

In the two years up to the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, less than 400 Indian fishermen were arrested for breaching the maritime boundary line with India's island neighbour.

In the four years since, more than 1200 fishermen have ended up in Lankan jails. That in a nutshell explains how sensitive the maritime boundary line between India and Sri Lanka has become.

The announcement by Sri Lankan minister for external affairs G L Peiris that Colombo will detain and prosecute Indian fishermen, who poach in Sri Lankan waters marks a qualitative change in the Rajapaksa government's handling of the issue.

Since the fall of the LTTE and end of the ethnic war in 2009, the international maritime boundary in the Palk Bay has become more volatile with the island nation stepping up action against illegal fishing in its territorial waters. As on date, 120 Indian fishermen languish in Lankan prisons.

Until recently, when TN fishermen were arrested by the Lankan navy, chief ministers wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and New Delhi took up the matter with Colombo through the Indian high commission.

The fishermen were subsequently released and handed over to the Indian Coast Guard on the maritime boundary. But of late, they are being held in Lankan jails for longer


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