In second such incident within a week, 18 fishermen on board three fishing trawlers of Gujarat were abducted by Pakistan Marine Security Agency (PMSA) while they were operating near the notional International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) of India and Pakistan in the Arabian sea off Jakhau coast in Kutch on Thursday.
“Initially, we had reports that two fishing boats with 12 fishermen on board were detained by PMSA while they were operating near the IMBL. But now we have the confirmation that three boats and 18 fishermen have been abducted. Two of the abducted boats are registered at Porbandar port while the third belongs to Okha port,” Manish Lodhari, secretary of Gujarat chapter of National Fish Workers Forum, said. Lodhari said that the incident took place between 11 am and 12 pm on Thursday. “We are not certain as yet if the seized boats had crossed the IMBL or they were detained while they were operating towards the Indian side of the IMBL,” he said.
This is the second such incident within a week. On February 19, PMSA had abducted 16 Indian fishing trawlers, along with 88 fishermen aboard, for allegedly violating Pakistan waters. This was preceded by the seizure of 2 Indian boats and 12 fishermen from the Arabian sea.
India and Pakistan have dispute over their waterfront at the Arabian Sea. Despite repeated warnings from security agencies, like the Indian Coast Guard and fisheries department of Gujarat government, fishermen continue exploring the troubled waters and getting caught by the Pakistani security agencies year after year. “Around 60 boats have been seized by PMSA this fishing season alone. This is very worrisome as fishermen who are caught are usually breadwinners of their families,” he added.