The region between northern Sri Lanka and Rameshwaram has been subject to intense activities with both sides making regular arrests. With Indian fishermen not venturing into the sea for 60 days, the regular fishermen arrests have come down, but on May 4 Indian Customs caught 5kg of gold which was smuggled from Sri Lanka to India.
The Customs officials said that an investigation is underway and they will soon get to the bottom of a racket that has been smuggling goods into the two countries. Moreover, a suspect was apprehended with over 1 kg of heroin by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard in coordination with Kotawila Police. The apprehended suspect and heroin were handed over to the Kotawila Police for further investigations.
With the Indian Coast Guard’s hovercraft getting damaged, there is allegedly, a difficulty in the patrolling and this has further increased smuggling activities in the region.
The fishing ban period has seen a marked decrease in the regular arrests of fishermen. The arrest of five fishermen last week incited many protest across the Indian fishing community. Getting back the 140 boats in Sri Lankan custody has been a regular demand of the Indian fishermen.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting Sri Lanka on May 11 it has been announced that boats will be released as a goodwill gesture. While this has brought some relief for the fisher community, the region becoming a smuggling ground is causing fear and unhappiness in the region.