Modi hails release of Indian fishermen

May 26, 2014 - 7:30:20 am
Fishermen, released from a prison in Karachi, waiting for their return to India yesterday. Some 151 Indian fishermen held for violating Pakistani territorial waters were released yesterday in a goodwill gesture, ahead of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to New Delhi to attend the swearing in ceremony of prime minister-designate Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi praised Pakistan and Sri Lanka for freeing Indian fishermen from their jails ahead of his swearing in here today. “I welcome the step by Sri Lanka and Pakistan to release our fishermen. I welcome our fishermen brothers back home!” Modi said in a tweet.

Pakistan yesterday released 151 Indian prisoners who had been detained when they strayed into Pakistani waters while fishing. Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday ordered the release of five Indian fishermen in custody in Colombo as a “goodwill gesture” that comes a day before he leaves to India.

He will attend the ceremony where Modi will be sworn in as Prime Minister of India. Unlike the earlier batch of fishermen that he released soon after India’s abstention at the Human Rights Council in March — who were arrested on charges of illegal fishing — the five who are to be released now were arrested in November 2011 for allegedly smuggling narcotic drugs into Sri Lanka.

Modi described as “great” the decision of Saarc nations as well as Mauritius to take part in his oath taking ceremony. “Their presence will make the occasion more memorable.”

In another tweet, Modi, who will be India’s 14th prime minister, added: “Overwhelmed by greetings from friends across India and the world. I am deeply grateful for your continuous support and best wishes.”