South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The National Fishworkers Federation (NFF) has urged the Union government to take initiatives in rescuing 650 Indian fishermen lodged in the jails of four neighbouring countries – Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar — on charges of entering their maritime boundaries.

The federation chairperson M Ilango in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also insisted the government to initiate efforts for releasing boats of the Indian fishermen confiscated by the neighbouring countries on similar charges.

Ilango said 350 Indian fishermen have been lodged in jails in Sri Lanka, 239 in Pakistan, 56 in Bangladesh and six in Myanmar. Sri Lanka has confiscated 56 boats and Pakistan 35. These four countries have confiscated 1,500 boats of Indian fishermen in the recent past. He pointed out that instances in which the boats were not released even after the fishermen were released from prisons from the neighbouring countries.

The federation sought the Prime Minister to initiate dialogue with high commands of the neighbouring countries and ensure release of fishermen and their boats.

Learning that the Union government has proposed to send a team of officials to visit Pakistan to inspect the condition of the confiscated boats of fishermen from Gujarat and Diu-Daman regions and to hold talks with Pakistan authorities, Ilango urged the Prime Minister to include him and members of the federation from Gujarat unit in the team.

He pointed out that he has been appointed as a member of the bilateral team that holds talk between Sri Lanka and India to resolve fishermen issues amicably.

Updated On: Nov 4, 2015