An Indian fisherman was killed on Friday morning when his fishing trawler came under firing while operating near the notional International Maritime Boundary Line between India and Pakistan in the Arabian Sea. The incident occurred some 100 nautical miles off Okha coast in Gujarat.
“Fishing trawler Prem Sagarof Okha was fired upon at around 9 am on Friday when it was operating near the IMBL, some 100 nautical miles off Okha coast. One fisherman has been killed after being hit by a bullet while the captain and the other four crew members are safe,” Manish Lodhari, secretary of Gujarat chapter of National Fishworkers Forum, told The Indian Express.
The fisherman reportedly killed in the alleged firing has been identified as Iqbal Bhatti (40), a resident of Okha.
Prem Sagar is also a trawler registered with Okha port and owned by one Subhash Mori.
Okha marine police confirmed they had received information about the incident. “Prem Sagar’s owner Mori has informed that one of the crew members on board the trawler has been killed in the firing. Quoting sailors of other fishing boats which were operating near the Prem Sagar, Mori told us the firing was done from a Pakistani vessel but seemingly not belonging to Pakistan Marine Security Agency (PMSA) or any other security agency,” Okha marine police sub-inspector Vijaysinh Parmar said.
The trawler had set sail from Okha port on September 8, police said. “After the incident, the trawler is returning to the coast. It is expected to reach Okha early on Saturday morning,” Parmar further said.
India and Pakistan have disputes over maritime boundary and every year, hundreds of Indian fishermen, a majority of them from Gujarat, are captured by PMSA for alleged violation of IMBL. Pakistan fishermen also get caught sometimes for crossing over into the Indian waters.