A Diplomatic Challenge! 5 Indian Fishermen on Death Row in Lanka


India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka YK Sinha on Tuesday met the five Indian fishermen who were awarded death sentence by a Colombo court and gave them assurance that New Delhi would make all efforts for their early release and repatriation.

Sinha, who visited Welikada Prison in Colombo on Tuesday morning, met the five fishermen at the Superintendent's office where he handed over some clothes and toiletries and enquired about their welfare, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in New Delhi.

"He (Sinha) assured them of unstinted support and cooperation of the government of India in ensuring that their case receives the utmost attention. He also assured them that the government will make all efforts to secure their early release and repatriation to India," he said.

The five Indian fishermen - Emerson, P Augustus, R Wilson, K Prasath and J Langlet, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, were apprehended in 2011 and were sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court on 30 October, 2014, for alleged drug trafficking.

The court ruling had triggered fiery protests in parts of Tamil Nadu and sporadic violence broke out in and around Rameswaram Island as a large number of people staged protests against the Sri Lankan court's verdict.

India is pursuing the case at legal as well as official levels with the Sri Lankan government.

"The fishermen appeared in good health and requested permission to write to their relatives in Tamil Nadu and also to make telephone calls. The prison authorities readily agreed and stated that they would arrange for telephone calls to be made by the prisoners to their relatives in a couple of days. Meanwhile, they were free to write letters to their relatives," the spokesperson added.

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.