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India lodges protest with Pak over killing of its fisherman
February 16, 2006 18:56 IST
India on Thursday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the killing of a fisherman by Pakistani forces in the Indian waters off the Gujarat coast three days ago. Coast guards of both countries came close to confrontation during the incident.
Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Munawwar Bhatti was summoned by the External Affairs Ministry to lodgea strong protest over the killing of 21-year-old Shantilal Mangal.
The matter is also being taken up by the Indian High Commisison in Islamabad with the Pakistan Foreign Office, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters.
Mangal was killed in the wee hours of Monday, when Pakistan Maritime Security Agency personnel opened fire at the Indian boat, 'Avani', fishing in Indian waters along the notional maritime boundary.
The rest of the crew returned with the body to Okha harbour in Gujarat, Sarna said.
The same day, PMSA ship Vehdaat towed away three Indian fishing boats -- MNF Bhiva, MFB Pushpak and MFB Shiv Mukti -- along with the crew of about 25 members, he said, pointing out that the fishermen were fishing in Indian waters.
An Indian Coast Guard ship was able to rescue another Indian fishing boat along with its crew and bring back another boat that had been set on fire, Sarna said.
Coast Guard sources said a 'full-scale conflict' was avoided by sheer luck when a Coast Guard vessel objected to Pakistani troops whisking away Indian fishermen who were on the Indian side.
India has demanded the immediate release of the fishermen and their boats, Sarna said.