Fishermen released from Pakistan's jail meet Andhra CM

Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], Jan 8 (ANI): Twenty fishermen from Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts who languished in Pakistan jail for 14 months, have finally reached Andhra Pradesh and met Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister offered Rs 5 lakhs to each fisherman as financial assistance.

A statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said, "Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, further interacted with the fishermen and enquired about their hardships. He assured the fishermen that a jetty and harbor will be provided in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts so that they needn't go to other States like Gujarat for labor work."

"It is sad to know that nearly 15,000 people are going to Gujarat to work as labor, despite having a vast coastline. Soon, a jetty for the fishermen will be provided in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. Also, those fishermen languishing in jail of Bangladesh will also be brought to the State at the earliest possible," the statement said.

"We never had a hope of getting released from Pakistan jail and see our families in this lifetime, we can't even thank even for the Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy for his effort to bring back us to our motherland. We shall remember him in our prayers for this entire life," said the fishermen who were released from Pakistan jail and thanked Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy with tears of joy.

The statement said, "As many as 22 fishermen from Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and East Godavari districts who went fishing in November 2018 accidentally went into the Pakistan waters and were detained by the Pakistan government and later sent to Karachi Jail."

"Over this, the State government constantly persuaded with the External Affairs Ministry for the release of fishermen. Finally, after 14 months, 20 out of 22 stranded fishermen were released from Pakistan on January 6 and reached Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday," the statement said.

According to the statement, 18-year-old Surada Kishore, from Etcherla Mandal of Srikakulam district, said, "We lost in the sea while fishing and landed in Karachi jail of Pakistan. We lost all our hopes after knowing that we are arrested by the Pakistan Navy. The days are passing by and all other fishermen are getting released. Our only communication with the family is through letters."

"In jail, we were made to work very hard, especially those from India are made to work even harder. Today I am very happy and can't thank enough for the Chief Minister for his effort to bring us back to our State. I wanted to study with the amount provided by the Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy," Kishore said.

Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Mopidevi Venkata Ramana and Special Chief Secretary Poonam Malakondaiah received the fishermen at Wagah border on Tuesday and brought them to the State by air. (ANI)