Son was in Indian territorial limits: Mother of fisherman killed by Pak Navy
“My son was inside the Indian territorial limits,” said an emotional Anusha Chamre, whose 32-year-old son Shridhar, was reportedly shot several times on chest by Pakistan Navy’s marine commandos on Saturday afternoon at the maritime boundary between the two countries near Okha in Gujarat’s Dwarka district.
Shridhar lived in Vadrai fishing village at Palghar.
“My son was employed with Jayantilal Rathod, a boat owner, as a khalasi (fish labourer) three months ago. On October 26, Rathod’s boat Jalpari set sail and was to return to coast soon,” said Shridhar’s father Ramesh, who was also a fisherman.
“We also heard that the Pakistan Navy has kidnapped six Indian fishermen and seized one boat, but we are not sure about it,” said Ramesh.
“Another member on the boat, Dilip Tandel, also sustained a gunshot wound and is being treated at an Okha hospital,” said Rathod, speaking to HT from Gujarat.
Sunil Joshi, superintendent of police (SP), Dwarka, said a first information report under section 303 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against the Pakistani Navy Marine commandos.
“As the incident occurred at the high seas, the case has been registered at Navi Bunder Coastal police station in Porbander. We are awaiting the post-mortem report of the body and are investigating further,” he added.
Shridhar’s body was sent for post mortem at a Jamnagar government hospital and is expected to reach Palghar by Monday evening, Manendra Arekar, vice-president of Maharashtra Machimar Kriti Samiti, a forum for fishworkers’ welfare, has informed.
“We are protesting against the entire incident and demand compensation to Shridhar’s family both from the Centre and the state, as the victim is survived by his two daughters and wife. Their future is bleak; Shridhar used to work on a meagre wage of ₹600 per day,” said Arekar.
“The fishermen were within the Indian territorial limits and there was no need for the Pakistani Navy to fire on them. There are no specific marks to differentiate between Indian and Pakistani waters but we do have GPS (global positioning system) which warns us if we trespass into another territory. There are chances that owing to gusty winds, the GPS may have malfunctioned, but the Indian fishermen know their territorial limits and won’t trespass into Pakistani waters,” said Arekar.
Jatin Desai, member of Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum For Peace and Democracy, has called the killed a murder by the Pakistani marine commandos. “We condemn the firing. As per the UN (United Nations) Convention of Law of Seas, those who encroach upon the waters can’t even be arrested, leave alone firing by Indian or Pakistan Maritime agencies. It is high time that the Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Coast Guard and the Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) have a dialogue on this issue, specifically as it is a violation of human rights and the UN Convention,” said Desai
Due to such incidents, in the Saurashtra region particularly, the fishing community’s economy has been hit severely.
“Such incidents create an atmosphere of fear within the fishing community and they will hesitate to go to the sea in the future, which will ultimately affect the fishing industry as a whole,” said Desai.