Ten fishermen who were detained for over two months by the Indian coastguard have been released and handed over to the Navy at the Kalpitiya jetty.
The fishermen were arrested in two separate incidents. The first group of five fishermen from Negombo said their ordeal started on June 16, a day after they went out to sea. They were joined by five Beruwala fishermen who were arrested on July 27. The five from Negombo were Marcus Fernando (53), Dharshana (28), S.Camillus (55), J. Wilfred (52) and L. Rohan (25).
Amila Prasad (28), Priyantha Perera (43), Pradeep Silva (23), N.Nonis (42) and Karunaratne (33) were the Beruwala fishermen.
According to Marcus Fernando, after their capture they were handed over to the Tuticorin police. He lamented that neither the Fisheries Ministry officials nor the Sri Lankan Embassy did anything to help them while they were being ill treated by Indian police.
Finally they were released after being produced in an Indian court, he said.
Amila Prasad of the Beruwala group said they had gone fishing on July 22. Their boat drifted in the high seas for four days. The Indian coastguard took them into custody on July 27.