21 Indian Fishermen Stranded in Iran to Return Soon

21 Indian fishermen, who were stuck in Iran for months, have been released, Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said.


As many as 21 Indian fishermen, who were stuck in Iran for months, have been released, and will be repatriated soon. Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj tweeted about their release, and said that they will leave Iran for India in batches starting Aug. 3.

“I am happy to inform that 21 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu who were stranded at Nakhitaghi (Iran) have been released with the efforts of Indian Embassy in Iran and our Consulate at Bandar Abbas. We are repatriating them to Chennai in batches starting from 3rd August 2018 ,” Swaraj tweeted.

The first batch of the fishermen will leave Iran on Aug. 3 and reach India the next day, while the next batch will leave on Aug. 5, Union Minister of State for Shipping Pon. Radhakrishnan told the media. Nine fishermen – Rafale Joseph, Jesu Antony Ajilton, Francis Jesudasan, Antony Ignatius Antony Santiago Rayappan, Dasan Xavier, Maria John Sahaya Michael Parthiban, Antony Rayappan Maria Joseph Kennedy, Tiburtian Costa Victor and Victor Rubis – will leave Iran by Qatar Airways on Aug. 3, while the next batch will comprise the remaining 12 fishermen, he added.

The detention of the fishermen came to the Indian government’s notice when Radhakrishnan visited Iran in December last year. He urged the Iranian authorities to ensure their release, and instructed the Indian embassy to provide them food and medical assistance.

It is not clear yet if the fishermen, who were abandoned by their employers, will get any compensation. All of them hail from various parts of Tamil Nadu.

The fishermen were hired by Dubai-based fishing trawler owner Mohamed Shallah, and were detained by the Iranian navy after they ventured into sea for fishing in his trawler in November last year and allegedly entered the waters of Iran, the Hindu reported. However, the Press Trust of India reported that the fishermen were engaged in fishing in three boats belonging to their Iranian employers for more than six months.

Their plight was also brought to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attention by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami last month. In a letter written to Modi, Palaniswami asked him to direct the Indian embassy in Iran to take necessary steps for bringing back the 21 Indian fishermen.

The fishermen from Kanyakumari, Thoothokudi and Tirunelveli districts were struggling without salary, food and accommodation after their employers confiscated their passports, boats and other documents, Palaniswami wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister, according to the New Indian Express.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi had also met Swaraj last month, urging her to bring back the stranded fishermen, the Business Standard reported.

In a similar incident, 710 Indian workers, who had to leave Kuwait between November 2017 and April 2018 without salary, were declared eligible for compensation by the Kuwaiti government, the Indian embassy said last week. The workers were left unpaid and stranded for several months in Kuwait before they could leave the country after efforts were made by the Indian government.

Each of the 710 employees of Kharafi National Company, who is registered with the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM), will be paid KD 250 as a relief amount, the Indian embassy had said.

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