The Sri Lankan government has decided to release all the Indian fishermen who were arrested on charges of illegal poaching in Srilankan waters as a goodwill gesture for the Hindu festival Thaipoangal, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
"Their release would be favourably considered upon claims being registered by the respective owners in the relevant Courts, in keeping with the legally stipulated practice," the statement added.
The full statement as follows:
As a gesture of goodwill and with the advent of the Thai Pongal festival, the new Government of President Maithripala Sirisena is processing the release on humanitarian grounds the remaining fifteen (15) Indian fishermen from Puducherry who are detained in Sri Lanka for poaching.
There are also eighty seven (87) boats of Indian fishermen which have been detained in instances over a period of time, and are presently in Sri Lankan judicial custody. Their release would be favourably considered upon claims being registered by the respective owners in the relevant Courts, in keeping with the legally stipulated practice.
It may be recalled that earlier, the Government of India released ten (10) Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian custody. With the on-going process for release by the Sri Lankan authorities of the Indian fishermen, both countries would have reciprocated on the fishermen in each other’s custody.
The release at this juncture of the fishermen reflects yet again the desire of the two countries to address matters relating to detained fishermen in an expeditious manner. This demonstrates the goodwill and understanding which exists bilaterally and is a manifestation of the warm and abiding relationship.