In a late evening operation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) arrested 13 Pakistani fishermen, three of them minors, and seized their fishing trawlers after they allegedly intruded in Indian waters off Okha coast in Devebhoomi Dwarka districts on Friday.
Officers and sailors on board ICG ship Mirabai caught the Karachi-registered fishing trawler Ul-ji-Jalani fishing some three nautical miles inside Indian territorial waters and arrested the 13 Pakistani fishermen, the operation centre of North West region of ICG in Gandhinagar said on Saturday.
Indian territorial waters extend up to 12 nautical miles from coastline.
The ICG said that the fishermen were arrested at around 9:45 pm on Friday. They were later shifted in another Coast Guard vessel named Charlie 135 and handed over to Okha marine police late on Saturday afternoon.
“Among the 13 persons caught, three are children. They are aged between nine and 12 years. There are three elderlies also in the group,” sources in Coast Guard said.
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“Five of the arrested fishermen do not have identity cards. However nothing suspicious has been found aboard their fishing trawler. They are claiming they they inadvertently waded into Indian waters,” the sources further said.
Okha marine police sub-inspector Ishwar Chaudhary said they had taken the custody of the arrested fishermen and that the process to lodge an FIR was on. “We have also informed Indian Navy, and central and state intelligence agencies about the arrests,” Chaudhary added.
Incidentally, this is second such incident within span of around a month. On February 2, the Coast Guard had arrested 17 Pakistani fishermen and seized their two boats for allegedly crossing into Indian waters. Presently, the 17 of them are in judicial custody.