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QUESTION NO.537 INDIAN FISHERMEN ARRESTED BY SRI LANKA

February 06, 2020

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.537
TO BE ANSWERED ON 06.02.2020

INDIAN FISHERMEN ARRESTED BY SRI LANKA

537. DR. ANBUMANI RAMADOSS:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether the Union Government has data about the total number of Indian fishermen arrested, detained, tortured and imprisoned by the Sri Lankan Navy violating all international treaties and bilateral treaty in the past one decade;

(b) if so, the details thereof;

(c) whether the Union Government has taken any new steps to resolve this everlasting Indian fishermen issues that exists along the Indo-Sri Lankan waters; and

(d) if so, the details thereof?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN]

(a) & (b) Indian fishermen are arrested from time to time by the Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters. During the past one decade (2010-2020 till 2 February 2020), 3470 Indian fishermen were arrested at different times in Sri Lanka. Out of which, 3450 fishermen have already been released due to the sustained diplomatic efforts of the Government. As on 2 February 2020, 20 Indian fishermen are in Sri Lankan custody. Year-wise data is given below:

Year

Fishermen arrested

Fishermen released

2010

26

26

2011

198

198

2012

197

197

2013

676

676

2014

787

787

2015

454

454

2016

290

290

2017

453

453

2018

156

156

2019

210

209

2020 (till 2 February 2020)

23

4

Total

3470

3450



(c) & (d) Following the 2+2 initiative in November 2016 when the Foreign and Fisheries Ministers of the two countries met in New Delhi, a bilateral Joint Working Group (JWG) mechanism and meeting of the Ministers for Fisheries of the two countries was institutionalized to address the fishermen issues with Sri Lanka. So far, 3 rounds of the JWG meeting and 2 rounds of the Ministerial meeting have been held. Government is constantly in touch with the Sri Lankan side to schedule the fourth round of JWG and the third round of Ministerial meeting.

With the assistance of the Government of India, 507 transponders have been installed by the Government of Tamil Nadu in mechanised fishing boats on a pilot basis under a scheme for Diversification of Trawl Fishing into Long Lining from Palk Bay into Deep Sea Fishing. Under the Scheme on ‘Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries’ of Government of India, assistance is provided to fishermen for obtaining safety kits, which consist of GPS, communication equipment, echo-sounder, lifejackets, lifebuoys, Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT), life-saving appliances (VHF radiotelephones), fish finder, backup battery, search and rescue beacon, etc.

 

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