Sri Lanka so far this year has arrested 125 Indian fishermen for violating Sri Lanka's International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and entering into Sri Lankan territorial waters but no fishermen have been killed, Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony said.
The Indian Defense Minister provided these figures in a written reply to Lok Sabha Monday.
According to the Indian Defence Minister no fishermen have been killed in 2012 either while Sri Lanka detained 202 Indian fishermen during the year.
In 2011, two fishermen have been killed during the skirmishes with the Sri Lankan Navy while 203 Indian nationals were arrested. Among the detained, 10 Indian nationals including 05 fishermen arrested in November 2011, are in custody on charges of smuggling narcotics and contraband.
The Indian government has been consistently taking up the fishermen issues with the Sri Lankan government to ensure that the Sri Lankan Navy acts with restraint and the fishermen found near IMBL are treated in a humane manner, the Defence Minister noted.
The two governments have reached an understanding in October 2008 to avoid the recurrence of incidents involving Indian fishermen with Sri Lankan Navy. The agreement put in place practical arrangements to deal with bonafide Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen crossing the IMBL.
As part of these arrangements, it has been agreed that there would be no firing on Indian fishing vessels and that Indian fishing vessels would not enter the sensitive areas designated by the Government of Sri Lanka along its coastline.
The Indian Defence Minister pointed out that the Indian Coast Guard provides assistance to Indian fishermen at sea while they are in distress through regular patrolling and conducts Community Interactions Programs to educate fishermen among other issues, on the perils of cross border fishing.
Under operation Tasha, Indian Navy and Coast Guard ships are deployed continuously (24X7) in Palk Bay area to prevent any illegal activities and also to protect the fishermen from any attacks, while they are fishing in Indian waters, the Defence Minister added.