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Kin of Goans stranded on ships abroad protest at CM's house

The All Goa Seafarers Association founder president Dixon Vaz said the family members of Goans who are working on different ships are concerned because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Published: 15th April 2020 03:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2020 03:50 PM   |  A+A-

Goa CM Pramod Sawant

Goa CM Pramod Sawant (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

PANAJI: Family members of some Goans, who are stranded on various ships abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown, sat on a hunger strike outside Chief Minister Pramod Sawant's residence here on Wednesday demanding immediate steps by the government to bring them back.

Five of the protesters, all women, were detained, a police official said.

They met Sawant on Wednesday morning, but later refused to withdraw their hunger strike, saying they were not convinced by his assurances.

Gina Pereira, a resident of Varca village in South Goa district, whose husband is working on Royal Caribbean's Symphony ship off the US coast which has reported death of one of its crew member due to COVID-19, was among those taken into custody from outside the chief minister's residence.

Talking to reporters before being detained, Pereira said they staged the protest to draw Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attention over the issue.

ALSO READ: 93 Goan seafarers onboard ship seek CM Sawant's help

Pereira said she met Sawant on Wednesday when she began the hunger strike.

"But I am not happy with the meeting. The chief minister said the issue is with the Centre. If the prime minister will decide on the issue, then we have no option but to sit on hunger strike and draw his attention, she added.

As per government estimate, 7,000 to 10,000 Goans are stranded on various ships abroad.

The All Goa Seafarers Association founder president Dixon Vaz said the family members of Goans who are working on different ships are concerned because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"They were forced to sit on hunger strike as all our efforts to convince the government to act swiftly have failed, he added.

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