A year on, kin await return of Andhra Pradesh fishermen in Pakistan jails

The family members of the arrested fishermen have been taking hand loans from known people to run the family.

Published: 21st November 2019 05:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2019 05:13 AM   |  A+A-

Women members of the captured fishermen’s families

Women members of the captured fishermen’s families| EXPRESS

By Express News Service

SRIKAKULAM:  It has been a year since 20 fishermen from Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts were captured by the Pakistan Coast Guard officials, while they were fishing in the territorial waters of the neighbouring country on November 2018.  

Of them, 15 fishermen are from Srikakulam and the rest from Vizianagaram. The families of the arrested fishermen have met several leaders, government officials, including Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy during his over 3,000-km-long Praja Sankalpa Yatra seeking release of the captured, but to no avail. 

Ganagalla Nukaratnam was heavily pregnant when her husband Rama Rao was captured. She delivered a baby girl who is 10 months old now. “With no alternative in sight, I had to take the burden of my aged in-laws besides two small children. I received only a few letters from my jailed husband in the last one year,” she added. 

Over Rs 50,000 was borrowed from the villagers for hospital expenses for delivery and other needs, Nukaratnam added. Similarly, family members of other fishermen have also been undergoing hardship in various forms. Though the government has been giving Rs 4,500 for monthly maintenance, the amount comes once in three to four months, Nukaratnam added. 

The family members of the arrested fishermen have been taking hand loans from known people to run the family. Similarly, Surada Bugatamma, whose husband Appa Rao along with her two sons—Kalyan and Kishore—were captured by the Pakistan Coast Guard personnel, has been working as a daily wager to run the family. 

She appealed to the State government to intensify efforts to release the captured fishermen.  She said that she had taken ill because of irregular sleep. Meanwhile, the government had given Rs 10,000 as an immediate relief along with rice a few days after the incident.

Apart from monthly maintenance, Rs 2 lakh was given to each victim’s family for survival. When contacted, Fisheries department officials said that the issue was taken to the notice of the State and Central governments and the efforts are underway to get the fishermen released. 



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