The Sri Lankan navy today arrested 24 fishermen from here and also chased away at gun point several others for allegedly fishing in Lankan waters near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits.
More then 3,000 fishermen in 600 boats had put out to sea from here last night. The Lankan navy personnel came in 10 patrol boats and sea bikes, threatened the fishermen and arrested 24 of them besides chasing away others at gun point, fishermen organisation leaders S Emerite and Sagayaraj said.
The fishermen were fishing near Katchatheevu in Palk Straits, they said claiming the fishermen were fishing in traditional waters.
On October 10, the navy personnel had arrested 19 fishermen from Nagapattinam district on charges of violating the International Maritime Boundary Line prompting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take up the continued arrests of state's fishermen at a high political level with Sri Lanka.
In another instance on October 2, seven fishermen from Rameswaram had been arrested by Sri Lankan naval personnel off Katchatheevu islet for allegedly crossing the IMBL and fishing in their waters.
Emirite said the livelihood of fishermen would be hit hard if the Sri Lankan navy continued the arrests besides threatening them while fishing in traditional waters. He also wanted the Centre and state governments to take necessary steps to prevent such incidents.
Meanwhile the Judicial Magistrate court in Mannar remanded the 24 fishermen till October 28.
Magistrate Siri Zion Alex Raja ordered that 21 fishermen be lodged at Vavuniya Prison. Three others who were found to be minors had been sent to 'Annai Illam' (home for children) at Uppukulam in Mannar district, Sesu Raja, Fishermen's Association Secretary said.
Meanwhile a meeting of the fishermen sought the Centre's help to secure the release of the 19 fishermen from Nagapattinam district and said they would be forced to go on an agitation if no steps were taken to get them released.
The meeting noted that 18 boats had so far been sunk by the Sri lankan navy and demanded that the Centre provide compensation for this.