AHMEDABAD, May 15 (PTI): A total of 184 fishermen from Gujarat, who were released by Pakistani authorities last week, reached Vadodara on Monday morning by a train from Punjab, the state government said.
These fishermen were caught by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) nearly four years ago from the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) near Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea, claiming they had crossed the notional border and entered Pakistani waters, the government said in a release.
In all, Pakistan released 198 Indian fishermen last week.
Out of them, 184 are from Gujarat, three from Andhra Pradesh, four from Diu, five from Maharashtra and two from Uttar Pradesh.
“Thanks to the diplomatic efforts of the central government, these fishermen, lodged in Pakistani jails, were released and handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border in Punjab on May 13,” the release said.
The Gujarat government made representations in the past to the Centre to secure the release of these fishermen, it said.
On Monday morning, the fishermen who arrived at the Vadodara railway station were welcomed by Gujarat Fisheries Minister Raghavji Patel and other dignitaries, including MLAs Keyur Rokadia and Chaitanya Desai, the release said.
Out of the 184 fishermen from Gujarat, 152 are from Gir Somnath district, 22 from Devbhumi Dwarka, five from Porbandar and one each from Junagadh, Jamnagar, Kutch, Valsad and Navsari, it said.
From Vadodara, local authorities sent the fishermen sent to their destinations in four buses, the release said.
In March, the Gujarat government informed the Legislative Assembly that as of December 2022, as many as 560 fishermen from Gujarat were languishing in Pakistani jails after they were apprehended in the Arabian Sea.
The state government said 274 of the 560 fishermen were apprehended by Pakistani authorities in the previous two years.