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26/11: Three Mumbai attack fishermen declared dead 8 years on

The ruling means the men’s families can finally be granted death certificates for their loved ones, whose bodies were never found.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2017 14:02 IST
26/11,Mumbai terror attack,Kuber
Hiralal Masani, owner of the boat hijacked by terrorists for launching attacks on Mumbai in 2008, had initially wanted to completely do away with the name Kuber, something that evoked horrifying memories. (HT File Photo)

Three fishermen believed to be the first victims of the Mumbai attacks have been declared dead by a civil court in Gujarat, more than eight years after the assault which killed over 160 people.

The ruling means the men’s families can finally be granted death certificates for their loved ones, whose bodies were never found.

“The court accepted applications from the kin of the deceased fishermen and ordered the state government to issue death certificates for the men,” government lawyer TC Sule told AFP on Tuesday.

Five fishermen were aboard a trawler off the coast of Gujarat in November 2008 when it was hijacked by gunmen later identified as the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Read| 26/11: Fishermen say coast not clear, want to be trained to protect it

The captain was found dead inside the trawler, but the bodies of the four others were never located.

Sule said the missing crewmen were presumed murdered by the extremists, but under Indian law one cannot be declared dead unless a body is identified or more than seven years has passed without any proof of life.

The families of three of the men approached the civil court in January last year, demanding death certificates be issued.

Without legal proof, they had been denied the financial compensation given to the families of those killed in the gun and bomb assault, Sule said.

“Their families can now seek benefits declared by the Indian government for the victims of the attack,” he said.

The family of the fourth fisherman did not approach the court.

Read | 26/11: Mumbai’s coastal security still being upgraded 8 years later

The Mumbai attackers, having killed the crew at sea, sailed the hijacked “Kuber” to India’s financial capital where on November 26, 2008 they unleashed a wave of violence.

The carnage played out on live television around the world as commandos battled the heavily armed gunmen, who over three days detonated explosives and gunned down civilians across the city.

India has long said there is evidence that “official agencies” in Pakistan were involved in plotting the attack, but Islamabad denies the charge.

Read | Coastal security is the weak link in the nation’s security matrix

First Published: Feb 07, 2017 14:02 IST