Colombo/Rameswaram: At least 16 Tamil Nadu fishermen have been arrested and their four fishing trawlers seized for allegedly fishing in Sri Lanka's territorial waters near Katchatheevu islet, the Sri Lankan Navy said on Tuesday in Colombo.
The fast gun boats and the fast attack craft, attached to the Northern Naval Command of the Sri Lanka Navy, arrested the fishermen in the seas, northwest of the Delft Island and northeast of the Katchatheevu Island.
The fishermen and trawlers were handed over to the Assistant Director of Fisheries in Jaffna for further legal action, the navy added.
Meanwhile in Rameswaram, a fisheries department official said that more than 2,500 fishermen, from Mandapam and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, had ventured into the sea on Monday.
They were fishing off Katchatheevu when the Lankan naval personnel came to the spot and snapped the fishing nets of 100 boats before chasing them away, Assistant Director of Fisheries Department, Mandapam, Gopinath said.
Condemning the frequent arrest of Indian fishermen, Rameswaram Fishermen Association president, P Sesuraja asked the Centre to intervene and help them fish in the traditional waters in Palk Strait.
The arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy has become a flash point in India-Sri Lanka relations.
On 4 January, at least 13 Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, prompting Chief Minister K Palaniswami to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to secure their release.
On 7 January, over 4,000 Tamil Nadu fishermen were chased away by the Navy personnel who also snapped the fishing nets of 100 boats for allegedly fishing in the territorial waters off Katchatheevu islet.
Over 3,500 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were on 9 January chased away by the Lankan naval personnel who had damaged some boats by pelting stones and snapped the fishing nets of around 50 vessels.
Updated Date: Jan 16, 2018 20:16 PM