345 fishermen from Gujarat lodged in Pakistani jails, state government tells assembly

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government told the Legislative Assembly on Thursday that 345 fishermen from the state are languishing in Pakistani jails, of whom 248 were arrested by the neighbouring country in the last two years.

State Fisheries Minister Jawahar Chavda said this in a written reply to a query over fishermen from Gujarat held in Pakistan.

As of December 31, 2020, a total of 345 fishermen from Gujarat were in Pakistani jails, he said.

Of these, 248 fishermen were arrested in the last two years – 85 in 2019 and 163 in 2020 – Chavda said in reply to a starred question by Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar.

The minister said that the government is taking efforts to get these fishermen released, and submitted the required documentary proofs to the Ministry of Home Affairs for further action after verification of their nationality.

In a related question, the minister said that the government has extended Rs 37.70 lakh financial assistance to the fishermen in Porbandar to install GPS in theirfishing boats.

Fishermen from Gujarat are on several occasions held by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency after they cross the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) while fishing deep into the Arabian sea.

Fishermen from Gujarat districts, such as Porbandar, Gir Somnath and Devbhumi Dwarka, mistakenly cross the maritime border in the Arabian sea and end up in Pakistani jails.

The state government has been conducting awareness programmes and also assisting fishermen in setting up GPS to alert them when they come near the IMBL, he said.