On 30th October 2014, five Indian fishermen from Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu were sentenced to death penalty by the High court of Sri Lanka.
Case: Five fishermen from Rameswaram were arrested in November 2011 on charges of smuggling narcotics from India to Sri Lanka after they crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line.
High court of Sri Lanka sentenced three Sri Lankans and five Indian fishermen death penalty in this case.
Indian Government’s response to this decision
- India was tracking this case since 2011 and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka had been providing legal aid to the fishermen.
- As per MEA, the fishermen are not guilty.
- In order to get them back to MEA will follow the legal process.
- Earlier, MEA had submitted background profiles of all the five fishermen with bona fides that they were genuine fishermen. India even had given details of five fishermen that had no record of involvement in drug related activities.
- However, the Sri Lankan authorities went ahead with the conviction, which is against the established practices between India and Sri Lanka.
This decision is considered as an unpleasant development, which may in future strain India’s bilateral ties with Sri Lanka.