Burney PIL: HC directs union ministries to file reply | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Burney PIL: HC directs union ministries to file reply

Acting on a public interest litigation filed by Pakistan's former federal minister for Human Rights, Ansar Burney seeking directions for release of six Indians and other detainees of MV Iceberg-1 from Somali pirates, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday issued notices to the Union government.

chandigarh Updated: Oct 20, 2011 13:17 IST
Sanjeev Verma

Acting on a public interest litigation filed by Pakistan's former federal minister for Human Rights, Ansar Burney seeking directions for release of six Indians and other detainees of MV Iceberg-1 from Somali pirates, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday issued notices to the Union government.

The petition came up for hearing before the division bench headed by acting chief justice MM Kumar, which directed the union ministries to file their replies before November 11.

Burney, also a United Nations expert advisor on Human Rights, alongwith a city based advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal, has sought directions from the high court to the ministry of external affairs, ministry of home affairs and ministry of defence to take immediate steps for the release of detainees and to evolve some steps that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

The petitioners informed that on March 29 last year, MV Iceberg-1 having a Panama flag was hijacked by the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The detainees included six Indians, two Pakistanis, nine Yemenis, two Sudanese, four Ghanians and one Filipion who were on the board.

Lakhanpal asserted that 18 months period has passed after the crew members were captured by the pirates but it seems that Indian government has hardly taken any concrete steps to get them released.

The petitioners stated that the Indian detainees include Jaswinder Singh from Haryana, Dhiraj Tiwari from Nasik, Ganesh Mohite from Navi Mumbai, Santosh Yadav from Uttar Pradesh, Swapnil Jadhav from Satara in Maharashtra and Shah Ji Kumar Purshotanam from Kerala.

The court was also informed that the Vessel Iceberg is now sinking and the last time the detainees were contacted was on June 3 and since then there has been no contact with them. The pirates have demanded 8 million dollars for their release.

It is a matter of common knowledge now that Somali pirates are capturing hundreds of Pakistanis, Indians and other nationals every month and release them only after taking huge ransom, the bench was informed.