Illegal immigrants, says Sri Lankan Navy whereas Indian mission says they’re fishermen
As many as 86 individuals from India, travelling on 11 boats, had been on Tuesday caught in Sri Lankan waters as they tried to enter the island nation, presumably fleeing the raging pandemic, the Sri Lankan Navy stated.
“They were intercepted mid-sea and held there by the Navy. We immediately informed the Indian High Commission asking them to make arrangements for the Indian Coast Guard or Navy to take them back,” Navy spokesman Captain Indika De Silva advised The Hindu.
When contacted, an official on the Indian High Commission right here stated there have been “a few boats with Indian fishermen near IMBL which were stopped by Sri Lankan Navy when they inadvertently drifted towards Sri Lanka”.
While the Sri Lankan Navy stated it prevented “illegal immigrants” from coming into Sri Lankan waters, the Indian mission referred to them as ‘fishermen’. “After they were told to return, they have gone back towards India. We continue to believe that the matters related to fishermen of both countries should be dealt with in a humanitarian manner,” the official stated.
Details of the place the 86 fishermen got here from weren’t made accessible. Tamil Nadu is observing the annual 61-day ban on fisheries to permit for breeding in the Palk Strait. During this time, mechanised boats from Tamil Nadu, which can be accused of fishing in Sri Lankan waters, are often off sea.
The Sri Lankan Navy stated it has elevated patrol alongside the island’s north and north-western coasts to forestall “illegal migration”. The improvement comes days after two ladies and two kids from India had been arrested in Sri Lanka for coming into the island nation illegally by boat, Captain De Silva stated. “One of them was a Sri Lankan refugee who was living in India, and another was a Sri Lankan woman who was undergoing treatment there.” Similar instances of refugees making an attempt to return to Sri Lanka by boat had been additionally reported throughout India’s first wave of COVID-19 final yr.
In the previous two weeks, the Sri Lankan Navy apprehended 4 Indian dhows with 21 individuals, carrying “smuggled dried turmeric, cardamom, other consumer goods”, a press launch stated. “The Indian nationals and the dhows held in these operations were repatriated back to Indian waters, taking into consideration the prevailing spike in the transmission of COVID-19,” in accordance with the media launch.