CHENNAI: A day after the plight of Indian fishermen, including 450 from Tamil Nadu, stranded in Iran was highlighted by Express, the fishermen at Kish Island in Hormozgan province had unusual visitors.
Iranian policemen, along with boat owners, visited them and threatened them to either go to sea or risk losing all supplies.
The Iranian policemen also tried, in vain, to arrest three boat captains from India who had prevented the Indian fishermen from going into the sea.
However, the policemen had to leave them behind when the other Indian fishermen also tried to get into the police vehicle. Trouble began on Tuesday when the boat owners along with cops arrived at Kish Island harbour and began scouting for the three boat captains from India.
Embassy yet to reach out to us: Fishers
According to Rathinam, a fisherman from Kanniyakumari district, “As they forced them to get into the vehicle, the other Indian fishermen also threatened to go along with them forcing the cops to leave behind the three men. The boat owners threatened us to either go to sea or remain without any help from them. They threaten to abandon us, and our Embassy is yet to reach out to us. We have been calling them for the last 21 days and all we hear is, ‘we are busy, we will contact you’.
They have been indifferent to our plight despite the Union and State governments assuring us of help. Why do we need an Embassy if they can’t protect the rights of their citizens. It is time the Ministry of External Affairs took action against these officials.”
Usually, Indian Embassy in Iran or the Consulate of India in Bandar Abbas in Iran, headed by UN Ogle, should have visited them. However, they have remained indifferent, Rathinam alleged. “We called them several times. Now, instead of our Embassy people visiting us, we are in the mercy of the local cops,”
Rathinam rued. Captain Johnson Charles, secretary for Meenavar Orunganaipu Sangam in Kanniyakumari, said he received a call from the Fisheries Department saying food would be provided to the fishermen by the Indian Embassy in Iran.
When Express contacted Rathinam, he said he got a call from the Embassy that they would provide them with supplies by evening. When Express contacted UN Ogle on what action he had taken, he asked to contact Indian Embassy in Tehran, which could not be reached. A mail has been sent to the Ambassador and no reply has come as yet.