Karwar, Jan 9: After five months, Iran on Tuesday finally released all the 18 non-resident Indian fishermen hailing from Karnataka and five from Maharashtra who had been held captive after they strayed into Iranian waters. The group of fishermen will arrive at their port in Dubai on Wednesday.
SS Nakul, deputy commissioner of Uttara Kannada, confirmed the release was facilitated by the intervention of the external affairs ministry. The fishermen had allegedly entered Iranian waters by accident.
The fishermen — six from Bhatkal, three from Murudeshwar, six from Kumta, and one each from Ankola, Honnavar and Shiroor — had been detained by Iranian authorities at Kish, an island, since July 27 for illegally entering the country. The fishermen were working on three boats owned by a citizen of the United Arab Emirates.
The authorities had detained them — first in a jail and later on their boat. Two Dubai citizens in another boat, too, had been detained in jail. Recently, they had been sent back to the boat and one allegedly escaped. Enraged, Iran had reportedly delayed the release of Indian fishermen.
After their arrest, the fishermen had released videos from the boat on which they had been detained and requested Indian authorities and external affairs minister Sushma Swarajtotake up the issue with Iranian authorities and get them released.
They pleaded with Indian authorities that their families were dependent on them and that they couldn’t send money home for four months. Though their boat owner made efforts to get them released, the Iranian authorities didn’t relent.
Their family members exerted pressure on the government to expedite their release efforts.
According to deputy commissioner Nakul, after the external affairs ministry took up the issue with the Iranian government, it agreed to release them. He said the district administration had received information that they had been released, but they don’t know whether the fishermen would go back to Dubai or return to India.
After 5 months, Iran releases 18 NRI fishermen from coastal Karnataka