Chennai: Sixteen fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan Naval personnel for allegedly fishing in the island nation's international maritime boundary on March 3, have been released and will return to India on Tuesday night, the Tamil Nadu government said. The fishermen had been released following efforts taken by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who twice wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking Centre to ensure their release, a press release said.
Further, she had advised state government officials to contact the Indian High Commission in Colombo and take steps for their release, the release said. The fishermen from Tuticorin in southern Tamil Nadu were fishing in three mechanised boats and one country-boat fitted with outboard motor off Kalpittiya when they were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The Navy alleged that the fishermen were fishing in the island nation's international maritime boundary. The fishermen have been released alongwith their boats and would return to India tonight by the sea route, the release said.