The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre what steps it has taken to ensure the early release of 15 Indian fishermen, working for some Baharainians, detained by Iran since September last year for entering its waters. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to file a status report indicating steps taken by it to ensure that the Iranian authorities provide food, medicines and other essentials to the fishermen who are confined to their boats since their arrest on September 22, 2016.
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The direction was issued after MEA, represented by central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, said that steps have been taken for their early release and to ensure that they are provided with food and other essentials.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the brother of one of the fishermen, who, according to the plea, have already paid the fine of Rs 13,50,000 (Rs 4.5 lakh per boat) imposed on them by an Iranian court.
The petitioner, Tamil Nadu resident A Derinse, has alleged that the fishermen, aged between 25-50 years, were not being released as Iran wanted Bahrain to release some Iranians jailed there in connection with a drug case.
The plea, filed through advocate Sabarish Subramaniam, has alleged that the fishermen were kept on their boats even during the winter months without proper clothing, food and medicines.
The petitioner has sought directions to the government to take immediate action to bring them back.