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Rediff.com  » News » 'We don't want our salaries, we just want to go home'

'We don't want our salaries, we just want to go home'

January 14, 2013 18:35 IST

Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar, whose report facilitated the release of 29 Indian fishermen from an Iranian prison, reports on the latest twist in the case.

Despite Union Minister for Overseas Indians Vayalar Ravi's intervention, the fate of 29 Indian fishermen, who have been languishing in Iran since October 10 last year, remains uncertain.

The fishermen, who were employed by a Qatar company, were arrested for straying into Iranian waters last October.

The men were released from prison last month after the Indian government interceded with its Iranian counterparts following the publication of a report on Rediff.com

The fishermen returned to their boats, but the vessels were not allowed to leave Iranian waters.

Each boat was asked to pay a fine, but even after this payment was made, the boats were not permitted to leave.

Qatar has detained several Iranian boats for straying into its waters and the Iranians want their boats back before they let the Qatari vessels leave.

But Qatar wants Iran to release its boats first before it releases the Iranian vessels.

As both sides wait for the other to blink, the Indian fishermen continue to languish.

On the first day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (January 7), this reporter approached Ravi in Kochi and appraised him about the fishermen's situation.

"I have already got them released," the minister told Rediff.com He was unaware about the boats not being released and promised to ask Defence Minister A K Antony to speak to the Iranian government.

A few days later, when this reporter called Ravi for an update, the minister said negotiations were on and one needed to be patient.

Captain Shirin, who commanded one of the boats with the Indians, is upset that though his crew has returned, there is no sign of them being allowed to leave Iran.

Shirin said he had telephoned Ravi who promised to settle the matter with the Iranian authorities.

On January 14, Shirin told Rediff.com, "We have been languishing here for three months. We don't want our salaries, we just want to go home. Please rescue us."

A Ganesh Nadar