Indian fishermen detained in Qatar

May 23rd, 2008 - 3:57 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, May 23 (IANS) Twenty-six Indian fishermen are under detention in Qatar for 18 days for allegedly straying into Qatari waters from Saudi Arabia. Qatari Coast Guard detained the fishermen May 5 and seized “six or seven” boats, the Gulf Times newspaper reported.

According to the report, the fishermen are still under detention - they have not been arrested, it was clarified - as their Saudi sponsors were yet to seek their release. Four sponsors have visited them so far.

Most fishermen in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries hail from India, especially from Tamil Nadu.

The detained fishermen have been housed in their boats, which are berthed near the Ruweis fishing harbour, and the issue is being dealt with by Qatar’s Coasts and Boundaries Department.

The Indian embassy in Doha was apprised of the situation only a couple of days back.

India’s Ambassador to Qatar George Joseph was quoted as saying that the mission was working to secure the release of the detained fishermen.

The 26 fishermen are depending on their Qatari counterparts for food. A Doha-based charity organisation also gave them food at least two times.

According to the newspaper, over 30 Indian fishermen from Dammam in Saudi Arabia were also detained for straying into Qatari waters last year. They were released two months later after their Saudi sponsors paid the required fines.

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