Kidnapped fishermen return from Sri Lanka

Chennai: The seven Indian fishermen who were allegedly abducted by armed Sri Lankan fishermen have returned to Tamil Nadu, a leader said on Saturday in Rameswaram.

"Seven fishermen were allegedly abducted by some armed Sri Lankan fishermen on March 4. They were later released by their captors after confiscating their catch, mobile phones and other equipments," G. Arul, a fishermen leader in Rameswaram town, told IANS on Saturday.

The fishermen were released on March 5.

"This incident of Sri Lankan fishermen, demanding ransom after capturing Indian fishermen, is very worrisome. Earlier, they only used to confiscate our catch," Arul added.

"There is a tension among fishermen community as ransom being demanded from Indian fishermen by Sri Lankans," D. Michael, owner of boats, told IANS in Rameswaram.

On March 4, Michael said he received calls from Sri Lankans, stating that ransom has to be paid and the account number for transferring the money would be told the next day.

"They had switched off their phones the next day. Later that day (March 5) they released the Indian fishermen. The men in my boat were not attacked. Though, the Sri Lankans had attacked some other Indian fishermen," Michael said.

According to him, the Indian fishermen were captured around 25 nautical miles from Kodiakarai in Nagapattnam district.

Fishermen from India and Sri Lanka have often crossed the border, resulting in arrests and boats confiscation.

Talks were held between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen associations in an attempt to end tensions.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived here on Friday to participate in the third round of a high-level bilateral meet and lay the ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Sri Lanka next week.

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