The External Affairs Ministry of India has informed a Madras High Court Bench that it has impressed upon the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) to act with restraint, not to fire on Indian fishermen and to treat the fishermen in a humane manner, The Hindu reported.
It also said: “During India-Sri Lanka bilateral meetings, including those at the highest levels, India has reiterated its position that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstances and that all fishermen should be treated in a humane manner.”
The submissions were made in a counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Ministry and the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka in reply to a habeas corpus petition (HCP) filed to produce three Rameswaram fishermen who had been missing since August 25 last year.
Deputy Secretary K. M. P. Sharma had filed the affidavit stating that the three fishermen were not in the custody of the Sri Lankan authorities and hence neither the Ministry nor the High Commissioner could be made accountable with respect to their production in Court.
Pointing out that the fishermen had gone missing while fishing near Delft Island on the Sri Lankan side of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), Mr. K. M. P. Sharma said that the SLN could not trace them despite carrying out an extensive search and rescue operation.
He also said that the names of the three fishermen J. Wilson, J. Daniel and L. Essron did not find place in the list of Indian fishermen who had been detained by the SLN on charges such as crossing the IMBL.