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US regrets Indian fisherman's killing, assures full probe

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 17, 2012 18:30 IST
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The United States on Tuesday expressed regret over the loss of life of an Indian fisherman in firing by a US navy ship and assured that it will probe the incident.

India also noted that the UAE government has filed a case in the incident, which was "proceeding according to the laws of that country."

Shortly after officially confirming that a US navy vessel fired shots at a fishing vessel near the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai, US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell called Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai to convey her "regret for the loss of life".

Terming the killing as "unfortunate", External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, in New Delhi, said the ministry was in touch with its Dubai Ambassador M K Lokesh, who has raised the issue with the UAE government.

"I learned from the ambassador that the government of UAE has filed a case in this incident and they are proceeding according to the laws of that country," Krishna said and hoped that "necessary action" will be initiated by the US.

An Indian fisherman was killed and three others were wounded on Monday when a security team on board a US Navy ship fired at their small boat off the Dubai coast. The fishing boat had four Indians and two Emirate nationals on board when the incident took place at the docking point, according to an UAE official.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in New Delhi issued a brief statement, claiming that the firing took place after "the vessel disregarded non-lethal warnings and rapidly approached the US ship."

But Lokesh contradicted the US claim. "According to the survivors, there were no warnings given to them," said the Indian ambassador. He also said the three injured people are in hospital.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, "Our embassy in Washington DC has been in touch with the US government since midnight IST. Our embassy in Abu Dhabi is working with local authorities to carry out a full investigation into the circumstances leading to this unfortunate and tragic incident".

"The Acting Consul General is in Jebel Ali to provide all necessary assistance," he said.

Condoling the death of the fisherman, who has been identified as Sekar of Periyapattinam in Ramanathapuram district, the MEA said, "We will stay in regular touch with the US and UAE authorities to ascertain full facts and take appropriate further action in the matter".

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to take up the issue with the US and UAE.

In a letter to Dr Singh, she said Indian embassy officials may be asked to render all necessary medical and other assistance to the three injured.

Reminding Dr Singh of the Centre's efforts to get compensation for the families of the two fishermen killed by Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie off Kollam in Kerala in February, she said such an endeavour should be made to ensure that compensation was paid to the families of the deceased and injured fishermen.

"I request you to kindly take up this matter with the governments of the United States and Dubai, to cause a detailed inquiry into the incident. I also request you to ensure that due compensation is paid to the families of the deceased and injured fishermen," she said.

"As the dead and injured fishermen are innocent fishermen who were conducting fishing in the sea only for their livelihood, please ensure that justice is rendered," she said.

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