Pakistan nabs 115 fishermen,20 Indian boats in four days

For the fourth day in a row,Pakistan’s marine security agency apprehended Indian fishermen on Tuesday on charges of crossing over the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

Written by Express News Service | Rajkot | Published:March 26, 2009 12:12 am

For the fourth day in a row,Pakistan’s marine security agency apprehended Indian fishermen on Tuesday on charges of crossing over the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

Since Saturday,a total of 20 boats and 115 fishermen have been caught off the coast of Jakhau. Post 26/11,this is the highest number of arrests that the region has been facing.

On Tuesday,a total of 11 boats were apprehended by Pakistan. Before that,seven boats had been apprehended: five on Saturday and one each on Sunday and Monday.

Leaders of the fishermen community have accepted that the Indian fishermen,despite being warned,continue to make the mistake of crossing over the IMBL.

The period after Holi saw an unprecedented rise in the number of incidents after boats left the Saurashtra coast in large numbers to fish.

“After Holi,most of the boats now are in the sea for the season. That’s the reason more and more boats are crossing over for a better catch,” said Manish Lodhari,the vice president of the National Fishing Forum.

Most the captured boats are from Porbandar,while the arrested crew belong to Vanakbara,Diu and Mangrol. Velji Masani,the secretary of the National Fishing Forum,observed that only boatmen from Diu,Navsari and Vanakbara are making the mistake.

“Boat owners from Porbandar,Veraval and Mangrol are now quite aware about the boundaries. It is the crew that is not at all aware and therefore going into wrong directions,” said Masani.

This has been happening for the last 20 years,but the community leaders now feel that concrete steps need to be taken to end this ordeal.

“It calls for policy change and reforms. Both the countries should release the fishermen and boats on the spot,once it is established that the men had no other motive except fishing,” Masani said.

There is also a demand for a total awareness programme for the fishermen who are not at all educated. So far,whatever awareness programme has been carried out,it targeted boat owners,who,in many cases,do no venture into the sea. “There is an urgent need of an awareness programme at the grassroots level,” Masani added.

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