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QUESTION NO.1603 FISHERMEN IN JAILS OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES

March 16, 2017

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1603
TO BE ANSWERED ON 16.03.2017

FISHERMEN IN JAILS OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES

1603. SHRI KIRANMAY NANDA:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) the number of fishermen imprisoned in jails of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh;

(b) whether Government is pursuing their release;

(c) if so, the details thereof; and

(d) if not, the reasons therefor?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[GEN. (DR) V. K. SINGH (RETD)]

(a) The number of fishermen imprisoned in the jails of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh and released during 2014, 2015 and 2016 are given below:

Year

Bangladesh

Pakistan

Sri Lanka

 

No. of
fishermen apprehended/ imprisoned

No. of fishermen released

No. of fishermen apprehended/ imprisoned

No. of fishermen released

No. of fishermen apprehended/ imprisoned

No. of fishermen released

2014

203

All released and repatriated

435

185

787

1060*

2015

397

370

335

454

360*

2016

10

316

410*

290

333*



(* This number also includes fishermen arrested in previous years and not released earlier.)

(b) to (d) The Government attaches the highest priority to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen. Our Missions and Posts regularly seek consular access to Indian fishermen detained in foreign countries, ensure their welfare and also pursue their early release and repatriation, along with their boats. Given the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of this issue, the Government has put in place several bilateral mechanisms to ensure cooperation and understanding between India and the countries concerned, to promote the safety and security of Indian fishermen.

In case of Pakistan, we have a bilateral Agreement on Consular Access, signed in May 2008. The Government attaches high importance to the safety and security of the Indian fishermen and makes continuous efforts, including through diplomatic channels, for the early release and repatriation of the Indian fishermen in the custody of Pakistan authorities.

In the case of Sri Lanka, our Mission works closely with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence, the Attorney General’s Office and the law enforcement agencies concerned, to secure the release and repatriation of our fishermen. There is a Joint Working Group on Fisheries and a Joint Committee on Fisheries, which take up fishermen’s issues for resolution on basis of the bilateral Understanding on Practical Arrangements of October 2008. In addition, talks are held from time to time between representatives of the Fishermen’s Associations in India and Sri Lanka.

In the case of Bangladesh, on receipt of information of the arrest of Indian fishermen, Mission contacts the concerned District Magistrates in India to ascertain their Indian nationality and thereafter pursue with the Bangladesh authorities for their release. For this, Mission seeks consular access from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and contacts local NGOs for their welfare during their imprisonment in Bangladesh.

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