A Sri Lankan court sentenced a Tamil Nadu fisherman to two years imprisonment on charges of repeated trespass and poaching in Sri Lankan waters. The court released 21 fishermen who had been arrested with him.
This is the first time a Tamil Nadu fisherman has been imprisoned under these provisions though Sri Lankan courts for the last few years have been releasing the fishermen under the condition that they should not venture into Sri Lankan waters again.
K Nambumurugan, 20, from Rameswaram was among the 22 fishermen who sailed on four boats from Rameswaram on October 14 and on October 28. They were detained by the Sri Lankan navy.
The Oorkavalthurai court remanded them in judicial custody earlier, and they were lodged in a Jaffna prison.
When the fishermen appeared before the court after their remand period on Wednesday, judge Gajaneethibalan released 21 fishermen on condition that they should not venture into Lankan waters again while sentencing Nambumurugan to two years imprisonment.
The judge, who remanded Nambumurugan in judicial custody in April last year, recognised him when he was produced in the court on Wednesday, according to sources.
The court summoned all four boat owners to appear before the court on February 12 with their boat documents.
Fisheries officials in Rameswaram said they have communicated the issue to the state government which is likely to seek diplomatic intervention of the ministry of external affairs with the island nation. (Foreign Agencies)