A delegation of YSRCP MPs on Thursday met Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and urged him to take steps for the release of 22 Andhra Pradesh fishermen imprisoned in Pakistan.
The fishermen were detained by the Pakistan Marine Security Agency off the Gujarat coast, about a year ago in November 2018. While 22 fishermen had been detained in total, according to The New Indian Express, 20 of them are from Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. According to officials, the fishermen were detained near the International Maritime Boundary Line in the Arabian Sea on charges of entering Pakistan's territorial waters.
The fishermen from north coastal Andhra had migrated to Gujarat, and were among a group of 22 who had ventured into the sea on three boats. The fishermen were reportedly taken to Karachi.
Four fishermen from Srikakulam district had been identified as Gangalla Rama Rao, Kesamu Yerrayya, Surada Appa Rao and Surada Kishore. They were reported to belong to Mrutyapalam village in Edcherla mandal.
The fishermen’s families had appealed to the state government to take steps to ensure their immediate return. They had met different authorities, including Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy who was then on his Praja Sankalpa Yatra, according to reports. However, a year after the incident, the situation hasn’t progressed. A relative of one of the detained men had reportedly said that the men could’ve only crossed the border unknowingly, with no intent of harm.
Fishermen from coastal Andhra seasonally migrate to Gujarat every year, arriving in September and returning in March. A sizeable population of fishermen from the state also travel to Gujarat in ‘jellyfish season’ between the months of June to July and November to December, returning by January or February.
With inputs from PTI