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'India in talks with Lanka to get prisoners back'

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has said the government is in talks with Sri Lanka to bring back the Indian prisoners languishing in jails in that country.

delhi Updated: Nov 19, 2009 19:09 IST

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has said the government is in talks with Sri Lanka to bring back the Indian prisoners languishing in jails in that country.

"We have been in discussions with the Sri Lankan government on the matter and continue to pursue it vigorously keeping in mind the humanitarian aspect," Krishna told Thol. Thirumaavalavan, VCK MP from Tamil Nadu.

Thirumaavalavan had written to Krishna Oct 16 highlighting the plight of around 40 Indian prisoners in Sri Lankan jails.

The foreign minister, in a written reply to him, informed: "Both sides are working towards finalising an 'Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons'."

"We will shortly send a delegation to Colombo to negotiate the finalised draft text," Krishna said in his letter, a copy of which is with IANS.

Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka allege that officials at the Indian mission are not bothered about their plight.

One of them told IANS that some had spent as many as 16 years in captivity and added that Indian authorities were making no efforts to get them released.

According to this prisoner, there are 43 Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka - 28 at Wellikade, 10 in Ngombo and five in Anuradhapura. The convicts are mostly from Tamil Nadu and Kerala and were allegedly involved in various cases of crime.