VADODARA: The bodies of two Indian fishermen hailing from Gujarat who had died in a Pakistani jail, were handed over to their families in Dandi and Nanavada villages in Gir-Somnath district today for performing their last rites.
The mortal remains of Vaaga Bijal Chauhan and Ratandas Makwana were brought to Mumbai by a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight yesterday. They were subsequently sent to their respective natives by road in two separate ambulance vans.
G K Rathod, an official from Gujarat Fisheries department who was one of the four team members sent to Mumbai to take possession of the bodies, told PTI that the body of Makwana was handed over to his younger brother Keshavdas in Nanivada village while the remains of Chauhan were received by his son Suresh and bed-ridden wife Lekhiben at Dandi village in the presence of government representatives and witnesses after proper identification.
"Large number of people including the women folk of Makwana's had turned up at his home for mourning his demise," he said adding the village had observed a bandh as a mark of respect on the occasion.
The post mortem report conducted on Makwana in a hospital in Pakistan stated the cause behind his death as bone TB, said Rathod.
The autopsy report was given to his family and another copy of it will be submitted to the Fisheries Commissioner in Gandhinagar, he added.
R V Halai, another Fisheries official and a member of the team went to Dandi to hand over Chauhan's body to his family which took it to Modheshar to perform to the last rites.
A team of four officials from Gujarat government took possession of the bodies after the state authorities received a message from Indian High Commissioner's office in Islamabad on Tuesday, said Mohammed Narmavala, Commissioner (Fisheries).
Chauhan died in a Karachi jail on December 22, 2015 while Makwana passed away on February 8, 2016. Both were held in April last year when their boats allegedly entered territorial waters of Pakistan while fishing in Sir Creek area in the Arabian Sea.
The exact cause of their death is not known, but their families suspect they died due to ill-treatment in jail.
According to Veljibhai Masani, Senior Vice President of Gujarat Fishermen Association (GFA) the bodies of both these fishermen were lying in a morgue of Edhi Foundation centre in Karachi before being flown to Mumbai.
He said that Managing Trustee of Edhi Foundation, Faisal Edhi had told him that they were ready to perform last rites of these two fishermen as both the bodies were highly decomposed.
However, they could not get required permission from Pakistan ministry he said quoting Faisal.