Pakistani authorities have arrested 52 Indian fishermen for allegedly straying into the country’s territorial waters, an official said on Saturday. The latest batch of Indian fishermen was arrested on Thursday night by the Pakistan Maritime Security Forces, he said. Eight fishing boats were also seized.
A judicial magistrate sent the 52 Indian fishermen to judicial remand, the official said. They will be lodged in the Malir jail here, he said. Rajesh, 28, couldn’t stop crying as policemen lined up the fishermen to take them to the jail.
“Most of us come from a village in Dandi near Gujarat coastal area and we didn’t know we had strayed into Pakistani territory while fishing at night,” he said. It is neither the first time nor the last time that poor fishermen ended up in jails in both the countries for straying into each other’s territorial waters for fishing along the Sir Creek area of Gujarat in the Arabian sea.
Another frail-looking middle-aged man being bundled into the vehicle kept on saying that the governments of both the countries need to do more for the poor fishermen who spend years in jail for no fault. A constable guarding the Indian fishermen said that he felt sorry for them as they squatted on the floor in the heat waiting for the long ride to jail.
On Friday, they were handed over to the Docks police station and then made to appear before a judicial magistrate who sent them to jail. These fishermen spend years in jail before any goodwill gesture on part of the government comes as a relief for them. The last batch of Indian fishermen arrested was on January 20 when 17 of them were sent to the Landhi jail. Since November, the number of Indian fishermen caught for illegally fishing in Pakistani waters has crossed 200.