Updated: November 12, 2021 8:09:13 pm
Pakistan will release 20 Indian fishermen lodged in Landhi jail in Karachi on Sunday and will hand them over to the Indian authorities the next day, Gujarat government said on Friday. The decision to release the fishermen comes days after India released and repatriated 10 Pakistani fishermen on November 2.
It also comes in the backdrop of Pakistan Marine Security Agency (PMSA) allegedly shooting an Indian fisherman dead and wounding another on November 6.
“Pakistan will release 20 Indian fishermen on November 15. They will enter India via Wagah border,” Jitu Chaudhary, Fisheries Minister of Gujarat confirmed to the Indian Express on Friday.
Most of the fishermen set to be released are from Gir Somnath district in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu off Una coast of Gir Somnath. The fishermen are Ranvir Mega, Babu Kirsan, Bhupat Bhagwan, Naran Parbat, Bhavesh Sharabhai Arjun Babu, Rukhad Arjun, Dana Bhpat, Ransi Bachu, Pola Sadhur, Meepa Aamabhai, Biso Naga, Hareshkumar Parma, Paresh Govindbhai, Ravendra Goindbhai, Bhaveshkumar Makwaran, Taba Lumbhabhai, Vaju Lakhman, Juseb Moosa and Himat Balu.
They were apprehended by the Pakistan Marine Security Agency (PMSA) for allegedly crossing over to the Pakistan side of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) at the Arabian Sea off Kutch coast. But they have since completed their jail term in Pakistan.
“These fishermen are among the 376 Indian fishermen who have completed their jail term in Pakistan and their nationality has also been confirmed by India. Some of them have also completed their sentence in Pakistan a long time ago. For instance, Ranvir Mega’s sentence had ended in May, 2017 and yet he continued to languish in Pakistan jail,” Jatin Desai, former secretary of the Indian chapter of Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) said.
“As prison sentence of 376 Indian fishermen has ended and their nationality has also been verified, all of them should be released immediately and not just these 20,” he added.
India had released 10 Pakistani fishermen from jail and repatriated them through the Wagah border on November 2. They were arrested by Indian authorities for allegedly violating Indian territorial waters. There are around 600 Indian fishermen lodged in Pakistan jail and around 60 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails.
India and Pakistan have disputes over the alignment of the IMBL at the Arabian Sea and every year, PMSA apprehends a few hundred Indian fishermen along with their boats for allegedly crossing over to the other side of the notional maritime border. On the other hand, the Indian Coast Guard and other security agencies detain a few dozen Pakistani fishermen for allegedly crossing over to the Indian side of the IMBL.
Incidentally, the PMSA had allegedly chased and fired at Indian fishing trawler Jal Pari, which had six fishermen aboard, while it was fishing at the Arabian Sea off Jakhau coast in Kutch district on November 6. Shreedhar Chamre, a fishermen from Palghar in Maharashtra was allegedly killed in the firing while Dilip Solanki, the captain of the fishing boat was wounded.
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