Pakistan’s former federal minister for Human Rights and United Nations expert advisor on Human Rights, Ansar Burney along with a city based advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal moved the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday seeking directions to the centre government for release of 6 Indians and other detainees from Somali pirates.
The petitioners have 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.
Burney’s trust had earlier paid 2.1 million dollars for the release of 22-member crew of Egyptian merchant vessel(MV) Suez, which also included 6 Indian sailors, from Somali pirates in June. MV Suez was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden August 2, last year.
The petition filed by Burney and Lakhanpal mentioned 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 6 Indians, 2 Pakistanis, 9 Yemenis, 2 Sudanese, 4 Ghanians and 1 Filipino who were on board the vessel.
It has been submitted 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 petition mentions 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 petition further reads that the Vessel Iceberg is now sinking and the last time the detainees were contacted 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,” read the petition which was filed in the high court on Wednesday.