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Sri Lanka releases 76, arrests 8 Indian fishermen as Sushma Swaraj visits Colombo

Sri Lankan authorities released 76 Indian fishermen on the day that the Indian external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj arrived on the island to participated in the Indian Ocean Conference. 

The men were arrested and detained, with their fishing boats confiscated in separate incidents over recent months. 

Meanwhile, in a separate incidents today, a total of 8 fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan navy and taken to the Kankesanthurai navy camp for interrogation. 

See more here and here

Earlier this month, Ms Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha that the Indian premier had raised the issue of the fishermen with Colombo. 

“The government regularly takes up the matter of early release and repatriation of Indian fishermen with the government of Sri Lanka. Our High Commission in Colombo provides humanitarian and legal assistance to the apprehended fishermen," Ms Swaraj was quoted by The Hindu as saying in response to a question by the CPI MP D Raja. 

“The number of Indian fishermen and fishing boats in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities as on July 31 is 15 and 117 respectively."

“The government has taken up the fishermen issues at the highest level, including by the Prime Minister, with the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister during his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2017.