Almost two months after he died in a Karachi jail, body of Gujarat fisherman Bkhikha Shiyal was finally brought back to his native village of Garal of Gir Somnath district. Fishermen leaders of the district, meanwhile, expressed outrage over the “undue delay”.
Shiyal’s body was flown to Mumbai on Saturday, and was brought by road to Garal, some 12 km from Una, on Sunday afternoon. The 35-year-old fishermen’s wife died a couple of years ago and his 12-year-old daughter Bhavika and two-year-old son Pinak, who had been staying with their aunt, now face an uncertain future, sources said.
Expressing anguish and outrage over the delay in bringing Shiyal’s body back, Jatin Desai, the joint secretary of India chapter of Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), on Sunday said, “Is this the modern age? At a time when a body can be handed over to other country within a day or two, this took so long! So many meetings took place between officers of India and Pakistan. Surprisingly, nobody knows who is responsible for the delay.”
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Desai further said that he had come to know that consular access was not given to Shiyal in due time and this led to the delay. He explained that according to an agreement between the two countries, the country arresting national of the other allows consular officers of the latter country to meet the person in its custody.
Vice-president of All Gujarat Fishermen’s Federation Velji Masani also expressed anger over the delay. “Shiyal’s body is in such a bad shape that one can not look at it. Whatever may be the reason, the delay is unjustifiable,” he said.
Shiyal was arraigned by Pakistan authorities on October 25 last year when he and four others were fishing aboard Parin off the Gujarat coast. He was lodged in Karachi jail since. According of state fisheries officers, he died in jail on December 19, but the Indian authorities came to know of this only on January 4. It took more than a month after that to fly the fisherman’s body to India.
Another family awaits kin’s body Family of Kishor Makwana, another fisherman from Una, still awaits his body to return. “Makwana escaped from jail, but was re-captured by the authorities. He died under mysterious circumstances on January 4. The incident warrants a thorough probe,” Desai said.
Chuni Gohel, the newly elected RS member, said he would take up the matter with the Centre.