Days after the island nation released five Indian fishermen accused of drug trafficking, Sri Lankan Navy arrested 14 Tamil Nadu fishermen on Sunday near Jaffna Peninsula off Delft Islands for poaching in Sri Lankan waters.
The fishermen are expected to be produced before the Kayts magistrate, Indian Consulate officials said, reports The Hindu.
Three fishing trawlers belonging to the fishermen have been seized and they have been taken to Karai Nagar in Jaffna. The arrested fishermen were from Rameswaram and Jagadapattinam in Pudukottai district, Fisheries Department assistant directors Gopinath and Sekar told PTI.
At least 24 fishermen are already in Sri Lanka's custody for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Lankan waters. Recently, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj asked the Tamil Nadu fishermen to not cross the IMBL.
Though most fishermen use GPS to ensure they do not cross the international boundary, they sometimes cross over knowingly and take the risk of fishing in Lankan waters.
They claim that they have to cross the boundary as the water on the Indian side has almost dried up and it is either too shallow or too deep making it difficult for them to fish.
"... Out of the 14 nautical miles to the boundary line there are only 7 nautical miles where fishing can actually be done as the other 7 nautical miles is only stones where fishing cannot be carried out. In such a situation we have to go closer to the boundary line," IBNLive quoted fisherman from Rameswaram, Arogyam as saying.
These fresh arrests were made days after the Sri Lankan president pardoned the five Indian fishermen, accused of drug trafficking in 2011. They were released on Wednesday and sent back to India on Thursday afternoon.