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35 freed Lankan fishermen await repatriation

Hyderabad: Thirty-five Sri Lankan fishermen, arrested on charges of illegal fishing in Indian waters off Andhra Pradesh coast and released after their cases were disposed off, are awaiting repatriation orders so that they can embark on a journey back home.

"The Sri Lankan fishermen were apprehended over a period of time by the Coast Guard under different cases and produced before courts in Visakhapatnam and other cities. They were convicted and asked to pay fines which they did and were later released," Marine Police officials said today.

The 35 fishermen are now staying in rented accommodation in Kakinada town of East Godavari district, along with their nine boats since the last week of July. All of them are now free after facing conviction wherein they paid the fine amounts. However, they are under surveillance, they said.

"We are waiting for repatriation orders from the Ministry of External Affairs and Home Ministry and after getting the same they would be handed over to Coast Guard and sent back to Sri Lanka," a senior Marine police officer told PTI over phone from Visakhapatnam.

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