May 6, 2021 9:41:24 pm
Pakistan authorities on Thursday handed over mortal remains of Gujarat fisherman Ramesh to Indian authorities at Wagah-Attari border crossing point on Indo-Pakistan international border in Punjab on Thursday. The fisherman had died in a Karachi jail on March 26 and officers of Gujarat government said that his body will be flown to Ahmedabad on Friday morning.
“Our officers have just been handed over mortal remains of the fisherman. They will bring the mortal remains to Ahmedabad by air via Delhi tomorrow morning,” D P Desai, in-charge fisheries commissioner of Gujarat told The Indian Express on Thursday evening.
A superintendent and an assistant superintendent of fisheries department of Gujarat had landed in Amritsar in Punjab on Thursday afternoon to receive the mortal remains.
Desai said that generally mortal remains from Pakistan are brought on board flights landing at Mumbai or Delhi. “But this is for the first time that we have received mortal remains of an individual at Wagah. Therefore, we are bringing them to Ahmedabad by air and from Ahmedabad, the body would be taken to the village of the fisherman by road and handed over to his family,” the commissioner further said, adding the flight carrying Ramesh’s mortal remains would land at Ahmedabad airport at 9 am on Friday.
Ramesh was apprehended by Pakistan in May 2019 for allegedly violating territorial waters of Pakistan while fishing at the Arabian Sea off Kutch coast. A Pakistan court had convicted him and sentenced him to imprisonment. His prison sentence had ended in July 2019 but he had continued to languish in a Karachi jail as he was never granted consular access by Pakistan despite an agreement between India and Pakistan providing for such access within three months of arrest of each other’s nationals. As Ramesh was never granted consular access, he could never be repatriated and his nationality was verified only after his death. The delay in nationality verification also delayed repatriation of his mortal remains.
“Had he been released and repatriated upon completion of his sentence in July 2019, Ramesh would have been alive today. Incidents like this call for honouring in letter and spirit the Agreement on Consular Access,” Jatin Desai, former general secretary of Indian chapter of Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Justice (PIPFPD), said.
Jatin Desai, the Mumbai-based journalist, had been making efforts to bring Ramesh’s mortal remains back to India.
After Ramesh’s arrest by Pakistan, his mother died soon after. Last year, his father also died. Ramesh is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, eldest of them being 13 years of age.
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