ATTARI: Over 160 Indian fishermen, including three minors, who were released by Pakistan as a goodwill gesture over the weekend have crossed over to India.
Emotional scenes were witnessed at the border as the fishermen entered Indian territory with some of them kneeling down and kissing the ground while some of them saluted the motherland.
The fishermen were released from two Pakistani jails as a goodwill gesture following an understanding between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia recently.
The fishermen, who arrived late last night, were handed over to Indian authorities at Joint Check Post at Attari/Wagah border.
All the fishermen crossed over to India on the basis of 'Emergency Travel Certificate' issued by the Indian High Commission, officials here said. The fishermen freed from Landhi and Malir jails in Karachi included an 11-year-old boy.
After they reached here at around 1 AM, the medical examination of all fishermen was conducted by a team of Indian doctors.
Earlier, the freed fishermen were brought from Karachi to Wagah border in Lahore from where they were handed over to Indian authorities at Attari border.
Speaking to reporters, some fishermen including Raja Ram, Sadhu Ram Kamta and Ravindra said the fishermen drifted to the Pakistan side during fishing and were held by the Pakistani coast guard for illegal fishing.
The fishermen rued that they would not be able to resume fishing as their costly boats were still in the possession of Pakistani authorities.The fishermen said the cost of a boat varies from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh depending upon the quality.
Some fishermen said they were already reeling under debt as the boats were purchased after obtaining loans.