18 Uttara Kannada fishermen held captive in a boat in Iran set free after 6 months

Source: S.O. News Service | By I.G. Bhatkali | Published on 9th January 2019, 11:24 AM | Coastal News | State News | Gulf News |

Bhatkal: 18 Uttara Kannada fishermen including nine from Bhatkal, who were kept under boat arrest in Kish Island from last six months were finally released by the Iran court on Tuesday.

Communicating with SahilOnline over WhatsApp, one of the captive fishermen Usman Bombaikar informed that a total of 28 Fishermen including 18 from Uttara Kannada, 5 from Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) and 5 from Dubai (UAE Nationals) had been released and were left to go to Dubai on two boats.

Fishing boats DF 378, DF 398 and DF 1717 were held respetively on 27 July, 25 August and 7 September by Iranian Navy while venturing into sea for fishing from Dubai alleging that they had entered Iran border. And  were held captive since then.

It is said that the case of arresting Dubai boats at Iran border while fishing was a common act and Iranian police after thorough investigation and looking into the facts, usually release the captives after a few days. With that in mind, even these fishermen had hopes that they would soon be released, but this time their hopes got washed out with the waves of the sea as the Iran police held all of their boats captive for months together. 

After waiting for around 3 months after the capture, finally one of the fishermen informed thier relatives in Bhatkal about the incident. His relatives met media persons of SahilOnline and a local organisation Majlise Islah Wa Tanzeem Bhatkal and thus begun the efforts to release these captive fishermen from Iran police. A memorandum was also submitted to Bhatkal Assistant commissioner addressing Minister of External Affairs Ms. Sushma Swaraj. Tanzeem had also sought help from Dubai based community leader S M Syed Khaleel who also submitted a memorandum to Indian Embassy in Dubai under the banner of Karnataka NRI forum Dubai.

Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul taking interest into the matter, provided all the necessary information about the arrested fishermen to Indian Embassy in Tehran, Iran.

Finally Iranian court hearing the case on Tuesday, ordered the release of all the 28 fishermen including UAE Nationals. It is said that 43 thousand UAE dirhams was paid by Dubai boat owners who had employed these Indian fishermen.

The released Uttara Kannada fishermen included Mohammed Shareef, Usman Bombaikar, Abdullah Dangi, Atikur Rahman Gharu, Jaffar Tadlikar, Khalil Panibodu, Nayeem Bhandi, Ibrahim Mullah, M Ansar Babu (all from Bhatkal, Heble and Murdeshwar village), Yakub Shamali, Ilyas Ambadi, Inayat Shamali, Ilyas Gharu, Ajmal Shamali, Ibrahim Hodekar (from Kumta), Matlub Sarang (Honnavar), Kashim Shaikh (Ankola) and Abdal Hussain (Shiroor, Udupi dist).

The release of these fishermen was a happy moment for their families in India after months-long grief. The sweets were exchanged among the families as a gesture of happiness and gratefulness.

All the three boat members were on the way to Dubai on two boats. The boats were expected to reach Dubai on Wednesday.

The sources said the the remaining one fishing boat which was not yet released by the court, was expected to get released soon after paying remaining fined amount.

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