Last week, a Sri Lankan court freed 56 Indian fishermen (Representational)
Sri Lanka's navy Tuesday said it had arrested 21 Indian fishermen after a confrontation with two trawlers poaching in the island's territorial waters.
A fast attack craft was damaged in the clashes on Monday night, the navy said in a statement, without giving further details.
"As the Indian trawlers were attempting to evade naval units with their aggressive manoeuvres, they also caused damages to the SLN Fast Attack Craft," the statement said.
It did not say if there were casualties, but said the navy seized equipment used by the Indians for "bottom-trawling", a fishing method banned in Sri Lanka that snares maritime creatures on the ocean floor.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin today urged the Centre to find a permanent solution to the Indian fishermen issue involving Sri Lanka through 'tangible mechanisms' and secure the immediate release of 21 fishermen and their boats from the island nation's custody.
"This is to bring a very disturbing incident to your notice," Mr Stalin said writing to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and informed him that 12 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on January 31 while they were fishing southeast of Nagapattinam coast.
Indian fishermen are known to stray into Sri Lankan waters along the Palk Strait, a narrow strip of sea separating the two South Asian neighbours in the Indian Ocean.
Last week, a Sri Lankan court freed 56 Indian fishermen who had faced poaching charges, but retained their boats.