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Sri Lanka

Monks launch hunger strike

Start indefinite fast to demand release of 12 'innocent' fishermen

ucanews.com reporter, Kalpitiya

ucanews.com reporter, Kalpitiya

Published: October 27, 2011 09:16 AM GMT

Updated: October 27, 2011 10:39 AM GMT

Monks launch hunger strike
The monks starting their strike

Buddhist monks and relatives yesterday began a hunger strike to demand the release of fishermen detained in the Andaman islands in the Indian Ocean. Twelve fishermen, 10 Catholics and two Buddhists, from the western coastal towns of Chilaw and Kalpitiya were arrested in India in 2010 and have been detained for almost 20 months. “I [will] do this till the government demands that Indian central government releases innocent fishermen," said Venerable Pujaya Diyasena Thero, the Buddhist monk in charge of Kandakkuliya temple, 200 kilometers west of Colombo. He had visited the men and started the hunger strike “when I learned an Indian court will sentence them to five years' imprisonment. “This humanitarian demonstration will continue till the arrested [men] return,” said Venerable Pujaya. Indian fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters have also become a problem for both governments, mainly for alleged poaching.

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