Families meet ex-Navy officers in Qatar's custody since August

India’s embassy is regularly raising the matter with the Qatari authorities and seeking further consular access.

Published: 25th November 2022 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th November 2022 07:48 AM   |  A+A-

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi (Photo | ANI)

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi (Photo | ANI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Families of some of the eight former naval officers detained in Qatar since August-end have been able to meet them, though there is no word yet on their release. There are also reports suggesting that relatives of the others in custody have been asked to fly to Doha from India to meet them.

On Thursday, families of the eight former officers got to interact with Indian envoy Deepak Mittal at a ‘Meet the Ambassador Open House’ session organised by the Indian Embassy in Doha. While some of them met him in person, others got to speak to him online.

“Only family members were permitted to ask questions and on a one-on-one basis. The details of course have been kept under wraps. Indian Ambassador to Qatar Dr Deepak Mittal spoke with them. Queries by those other than the family members were not addressed,’’ sources said.

The Indian Embassy in Doha had issued a circular earlier saying they would be ready to listen/redress any urgent consular issues or grievances of Indian nationals in Qatar. It has been close to three months since the eight former naval officers were taken into custody by the State Security Bureau (Ministry of Interior, Qatar). There is hope but no clarity on when these officers will be repatriated to India. 

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar’s visit to Doha on the invitation of the Qatar government to attend the inaugural ceremony of FIFA 2022 had raised hopes of the release of these eight ex-officers. Though Dhankar did have a private audience with the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, there is no clarity on whether he raised it with him. The meeting wasn’t structured, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

India’s embassy is regularly raising the matter with the Qatari authorities and seeking further consular access. It has also flagged the issue of fugitive Islamist Zakir Naik with Qatar but the country clarified that it had not issued an invite to him, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. 

Appeal by family  
Ex-commander Purnendu Tiwari is among the eight officers held captive in Qatar. His sister Dr Meetu Bhargava has appealed to the PM to bring back her brother.


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