Ahmedabad: Days after 50-year-old Indian fisherman Bhikhabhai Bahmbhaniya, a resident of Paldi village in Una taluka of Gir Somnath district, died during treatment in Pakistan jail, another fisherman from Gujarat fell ill in Pak jail. He is reportedly undergoing treatment in a Karachi-based hospital.
Fishermen leaders told News18 that two Pakistani fishermen, who were jailed in a Gujarat jail, also died during treatment recently. The Fishermen leaders have appealed for reciprocal approach to India and Pakistan.
Members of Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) have urged both the countries to show ‘goodwill’ and expedite process to handover the mortal remains of the deceased to their respective families in India and Pakistan.
On March 4, Indian Fisherman Bhikhabhai Bambhaniya had died during treatment in Pakistan. Bhikhabhai, along with other fishermen, had ventured into the Arabian Sea and was captured by Pakistan Marine Security Agency on November 15, 2017, while fishing near international maritime borders.
According to Jivan Jungi, executive member of the PIPFPD, 54-year-old Punjabhai Chavda from Gujarat’s Kotra village of Kodinar taluka -- lodged in Pakistan’s Karachi jail since 2017 -- has been ill and hospitalised since the last two weeks.
“In India, Pakistani fisherman, identified as Mohammad Salim Chaudhary, who was caught by Indian security agencies in 2018 while entering Indian waters and was lodged in Bhuj jail in Kutch district, died during treatment. Another Pakistani fisherman, identified as Mohammad Sohel Saiyad, died during treatment in hospital in Bhuj town of Kutch. He was caught in 2016 by Indian security agencies for entering the Indian waters,” Jungi told News18.
“We are in touch with the High Commissions of India and Pakistan to expedite the process to handover deceased fishermen’s mortal remains to their bereaved families. We urged Pakistani authorities to hand over Indian fisherman’s mortal remains as well as release the other fisherman who is ill and undergoing treatment on humanitarian grounds. The same way, we also urge Indian authorities to handover the mortal remains of two Pakistani fishermen who died during treatment in Indian jails in Gujarat,’’ Jungi added.
According to fishermen leaders, over 482 Indian fishermen are languishing in Pakistani jails currently.
With no clear demarcation of the maritime border, India and Pakistan frequently resort to arresting fishermen who venture into the neighbouring country’s waters.
Jungi is also demanding that doctors from both sides be allowed to visit the ill fishermen for better treatment. “Pakistan should allow Indian doctors to medically examine Indian fishermen in their jails and Indian should also reciprocate the same so that fishermen get better health services,’’ he said.