A Sri Lankan court sentenced an Indian fisherman to two years imprisonment on charges of repeated trespassing and poaching in Sri Lankan waters while releasing 21 others who have been arrested with him.

This is the first time a Tamil Nadu fisherman has been imprisoned under these provisions, according to fisheries officials at Rameswaram, India.

K Nambumurugan, 20, was among the 22 fishermen who sailed in four boats from Rameswaram on October 14. They were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of poaching in the Sri Lankan waters on October 28. Subsequently, the Oorkavalthurai court in Jaffna remanded them in judicial custody and they were lodged in Jaffna prison.

When the Indian fishermen appeared before the court after their remand period on Wednesday, judge Gajaneethibalan released 21 fishermen on condition that they should not venture into Sri Lankan waters again while sentencing Nambumurugan to two-years imprisonment. The court also summoned all four boat owners to appear before the court on February 12 next year with the documents related to the boats.

Earlier, Nambumurugan was apprehended by Sri Lankan navy on similar charges on April 2, 2022 while he was sailing in a fishing boat. Gajaneethibalan remanded Nambumurugan to judicial custody at that time.

Tamil Nadu officials have informed the state government about the judgment. They said the state government is likely to take up the issue with India’s ministry of external affairs for diplomatic intervention with the island nation.

The judgement has shocked Rameswaram fishermen, according to Indian media.

Source: Times of India