Colombo, Feb 16 (DPA) Sri Lankan officials said Wednesday that they would charge more than 100 Indian fishermen for poaching.
Police say Sri Lankan fishermen off Point Pedro on the northwest coast spotted the Indians poaching and alerted the police Tuesday.
“We will be producing the 112 fishermen before the local magistrate in the area Wednesday evening,” said Superintendent of Police Prishantha Jayakody, a police spokesman.
The Sri Lankan navy denied allegations that they detained the Indian fishermen first and later handed them over to the police.
The arrests have sparked protests in India, prompting the Sri Lankan authorities to move quickly.
“Wednesday and Thursday are public holidays in Sri Lanka,” a local police officer said. The usual procedure would have been to wait until the court resumes Friday, he said, “but local police have been told to expedite the inquiries in this case.”
The incident came after the navy was accused of firing at Indian fishermen and killing one in the Palk Strait that divides India from its island neighbour Jan 14.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visited Colombo in January to discuss the attack. Sri Lanka complains that Indian fishermen frequently trespass into its waters, but denies that its navy ever shot any of them.