Somali pirates free Indians, government tightlipped about Pakistani help (Lead)June 14th, 2011 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) Six Indian sailors were Tuesday released from the captivity of Somali pirates after a 10-month ordeal. While the Indian government expressed happiness, it refused to confirm if a Pakistani rights activist had a role in obtaining their freedom.
The six sailors, part of a 22-member crew of Egyptian merchant vessel MV Suez, were released after ransom was paid for their freedom by the shipowners, the family members of the sailors said. MV Suez was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden Aug 2, 2010.
The released sailors are expected to return home in the coming days. The release reportedly materialised after continuous efforts from Ansar Burney Trust run by a former Pakistani federal minister for human rights, Ansar Burney.
Apart from the six Indians, the 22 hostages that had been taken included 11 Egyptians, four Pakistanis and one Sri Lankan. The Indians include two from Haryana and one each from Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir. One of the Indians is from Mumbai.
“We are very thankful to Ansar Burney and Pakistan government for their help. They have paid a ransom of $2.1 million to the pirates to make this release possible. Burney was negotiating with the pirates for the last few months,” Sampa Arya, wife of Ravinder Gulia, 30, one of the hostages and resident of Haryana’s Rohtak town, told IANS Tuesday in Chandigarh.
“I have talked to my husband over the phone. He said that they have been released and all of them are in good health. They will reach India in the next few days,” she added.
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna welcomed the release of the Indian sailors.
“We are happy they (Indian sailors) have been released and the ship is now moving out,” Krishna told reporters here.
Parrying a query on whether Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney had secured the release of the Indians from pirates’ captivity, Krishna said: “Let us not get into a speculative analysis on who is behind it and who is provoking it.”
The family members of the hostages had met many senior Indian politicians to secure their release but all their efforts went in vain.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene in this matter but nothing fruitful worked out.
“Burney had raised funds with the help of the Pakistan government. Here, the Indian government has let us down. We met many leaders but nobody helped us. They said paying ransom is not the right way. I have lost all my faith in Indian politicians,” stated Arya.
Rajender Gulia, father of Ravinder, said: “Pakistan has helped us like an elder brother in this matter. We had lost all hopes as no Indian politician was ready to help us. Saving a human life was not important for them. But Pakistan emerged as a saviour for us.”
Burney, who reportedly negotiated with the pirates and raised money through donations, said in Karachi that all hostages had been freed.
He said they would reach their homes in a few days as arrangements are being made for their repatriation.
- Somali pirates release 6 Indian sailors - Jun 14, 2011
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- Thanks to Pakistan, Indian sailors gain freedom (Roundup) - Jun 14, 2011
- Freed Indian sailors reach Delhi, thank Pakistan (Second Lead) - Jun 24, 2011
- Abducted Indian sailors' families demand action from government - Mar 06, 2011
- Freed Indian sailors reach Delhi, thank Pakistan (Lead) - Jun 24, 2011
- India happy over its sailors' release by pirates - Jun 14, 2011
- Indian-Pakistani efforts to free another pirate-held ship - Apr 17, 2011
- Freed merchant vessel crew safely proceeding to Oman: Government - Jun 15, 2011
- Fresh pirate attack on freed vessel, India rushes warship (Second Lead) - Jun 15, 2011
- Indian government did not contact us: Sailor's family - Jun 24, 2011
- Himachal family awaits return of sailor freed by pirates - Jun 14, 2011
- 'Fresh piracy attempt on freed merchant ship, crew safe' (Lead) - Jun 15, 2011
- Four Pakistani sailors released by Somali pirates - Jun 14, 2011
- Wives of Indian sailors thank Pakistan - Sep 02, 2012
Tags: 11 egyptians, captivity, chandigarh, continuous efforts, external affairs minister, federal minister, gulf of aden, haryana, indian government, jammu and kashmir, krishna, member crew, merchant vessel, pakistan government, pakistanis, ravinder, rights activist, rohtak, shipowners, somali pirates