Eleven Bangladeshi fishermen freed from Orissa jail

February 24th, 2008 - 9:35 pm ICT by admin  

Balasore (Orissa), Feb 24 (IANS) Happiness finally came closer to eleven Bangladeshi nationals who five months back were found drifting in the Bay of Bengal, rescued by fishermen from Orissa, and put behind the bars by local police apparently for violating India’s territorial waters. The foreign nationals, fishermen by profession, were released from Balasore jail Sunday after judicial magistrate first class P.K. Dash acquitted them Saturday. The fishermen were arrested for violating India’s immigration law.

“All the fishermen have been kept in a private lodge in Chandipur as their trawler that was capsized in the sea requires some repairing,” said Iqbal Hussein, owner of the trawler.

“So they will have to stay here for another three days. We have requested the police not to arrest them again as they have no visa and passport,” he said.

These fishermen were rescued Sep 22, last year while drifting at the sea near Balaramgadi fishing base here.

The crewmembers had left for fishing from Bangladesh but after being struck by a severe storm their boat capsized somewhere 80 nautical miles from their base.

Subsequently, they were rescued by Orisaa fishermen and arrested by the local police for entering into Indian waters violating immigration law.

Meanwhile, the Balasore district administration has informed the state government and Bangladesh High Commission to help in deportation of the fishermen.

Collector Alekh Chandra Padhiary said: “We have informed the home department about their release from jail and the officials have informed the federal government and Bangladesh High Commission.”

As all the 11 fishermen are sole bread earners of their respective families, their prolonged absence only spells misery for their families.

“We are poor, so government should think positive for our deportation as quickly as possible,” said Hemayatuddin Hawldar, one of the eleven detained Bangladeshis.

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