Release Indian and Pakistani fishermen, say activists
Mumbai, July 2 (IANS) A group of activists working towards improving India-Pakistan relations Monday wrote to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai ahead of his meeting with his counterpart in Pakistan and appealed that he take up the issue of releasing Indian fishermen.
"With regard to Mathai's meeting with Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani in New Delhi July 4-5, we have written to him requesting him to address issues that have been troubling the fishermen community since a long time," said Jatin Desai, a member of the group.
Desai said that while the group appreciates Pakistan's gesture of releasing 311 Indian fishermen including 20 minors, there are still over 130 Indian fishermen in Pakistan prisons.
"Even after the return of 311 Indian fishermen, there will be about 130 Indian fishermen in Pakistan's prisons. More than 745 Indian fishing boats are with Pakistan. Similarly, around 120 fishermen from Pakistan are in Indian prisons and their 100 fishing boats are in India's possession," Desai said.
Requesting Mathai to highlight issues affecting traditional fishermen of Gujarat and Diu, whose number runs into lakhs, the group called for a permanent resolution of the issue on an urgent basis.
The group also suggested that both the governments send a delegation to each other's country consisting of representatives of boat owners, civil society members and state and central governments to survey the condition of confiscated boats in each other's possession.
The group of activists consists of journalists, lawyers, actors and filmmakers from across India.
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