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China allows family access to jailed Indian merchants

Last updated on: April 07, 2010 10:53 IST

China has allowed access to relatives of jailed Indian merchants charged with smuggling diamonds last January. 

Jewellers in Surat and Mumbai are feeling optimistic about the "settlement" of the case because the Indian government and its counterpart seem to be communicating over the issue.

As many as 21 diamond merchants were arrested in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The Anti-Smuggling Bureau of Shenzhen Customs allowed the family to visit of 38 members on April 7, 8 and 9.

The kith and kin can go to the No.3, detention Centre in Shenzhen for the meeting during the allocated time. All visiting members should carry their Indian passport with them for identification.

Indian jewellers back home are relieved by the Chinese move because in similar cases relatives have not been allowed to meet the accused.

In a similar case last year, four Australian employees were arrested. They were kept in detention, but no one could meet them. Their lawyers could see them in camera that too only once a month. The family members were allowed to see jailed accuse only in the court room.

External Affairs Minister, S M Krishna, who is on a visit to China, met the families of the arrested merchants.

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi