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The Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday that 68 Indian fishermen who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy have been released and repatriated. A bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath took note of the status report filed by the government and disposed of a plea seeking their release.

“We have perused the status report filed on behalf of the Union of India supported by an affidavit. It has been stated in this report that all the 68 Indian fishermen who were apprehended between December 18 and 20, 2021 by Sri Lankan Navy, have been released and repatriated to this country.

“In such circumstances, we do not find any reason to keep the present petition pending. Accordingly, the same is disposed of. Pending application, if any, shall also stand disposed of,” the bench said.

The top court was hearing a plea seeking directions to the Centre to negotiate with the Sri Lankan government to secure release of arrested Indian fishermen.

The petition, filed by Tamil Nadu resident K K Ramesh, said Indian naval ships should provide security to Indian fishermen within international maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka, and monitor illegal activities in the interest of the nation.

“The petitioner states that on December 20, 2021, 55 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy while fishing, and on December 21, 2021, 13 were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy while fishing,” said the plea.

It claimed several Indian fishermen were illegally arrested by Sri Lankan naval personnel and were kept in jails there where they were not given proper food and drinking water.

It said it is the bounden duty of the government to protect the citizens of its country.

The petition claimed the Indian government has not taken any strong action about it.


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