VANNALLI, KUMTA: “We have spent 70 days in a jail in Iran wearing the same clothes. And were given just one roti per day,” said Inayath Abdul Khadir Shamali, a fisherman, who is back home. He is one among the 18 fishermen from Uttara Kananda district, who worked in Dubai in a fishing company.
They were arrested by the Iran police in two separate incidents on July 27, 2018 and August 25 near Kish Island for allegedly entering their waters while fishing. Recalling their ordeal, he said that since they didn’t have a change of clothes, they would wrap themselves with a blanket and wash their pants. The next day they would wash their shirts.
“From food to clothes to medical facilities to waiting for release, it was a living hell for us,” he said. They were kept under boat arrest and six of them, including Inayath, were sent to jail. After languishing in the jail for 70 days, they were released and kept under boat arrest. Finally, on January 8, all the fishermen from the district were released and they reached Dubai on January 9.
On Saturday, speaking with TNSE at his residence in Vannalli village, Inayath said, “There was no water shortage. But there was no soap to wash ourselves or our clothes. We were not given even a mat to sleep. If anyone suffered from illness, we would inform the jail police and the medicines would come after three days. We were not able to sleep in the night due to the noise made by Iranian inmates who were on drugs.”
He said, “All six men from our district and three from Dubai were sent to jail in Kish Island where our fishing vessels were seized and docked. We were all packed into a small room.” “Every day we used to anxiously wait for good news from our lawyers. But days rolled by. We had no option but to wait with hope. For months, I did not speak to my family, including my children, in Kumta. Our bad days finally came to an end — we were released and we reached our homes.”
Indian fishermen go to Dubai to work in fishing vessels. But now Inayath’s family members are advising him against going to Dubai again. He too is in a dilemma about his future as it’s difficult to get a job with `30,000 per month. Like Inayath, the other fishermen too don’t know what to do.