With Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse ordering the release of 29 Indian fishermen held on poaching charges, India has started the process of repatriation of four of the five fishermen captured off Paradip coast in Orissa in April this year.
On April 30, a Sri Lankan fishing boat with registration no IMULA-0693GLE was intercepted by the Coast Guard ship ‘Bajra’ about 169 nautical miles from the Paradip coastline for illegal fishing. The vessel had a medium-sized radar, global positioning system and communication gadgets for long-range communication. The boat was spotted fishing in Indian coastal waters of Bay of Bengal close to the sea border of Bangladesh.
State home department officials said no criminal liability was established against the 4 crew members during investigation.
However, a case was lodged against the master of the vessel Loronsu Hewage Wellekkankankmge Dammka under section 10 of Maritime Zone of India(Regulation of fishing by foreign vessel) Act 1981 in Paradip Marine police station. He was arrested and forwarded to the court of SDJM Jagatsinghpur the next day.