15 Tamil Nadu fishermen languish in Qatar jails

Fifteen fishermen from Kanyakumari are languishing in the Qatar jails for the last two years, according to information reaching here.

Their relatives have complained that the prisoners are unable to even contact their families as they were being held without any local legal assistance or help from the Indian mission there.

Fr Churchill of the South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) told Deccan Chronicle that the state government had promised Rs50 lakh to his organization for rescuing Tamil Nadu fishermen jailed in Saudi Arabia.

“When we raised the tragedy of these fishermen, the government told us to rescue them and promised to meet the expenses. We brought back 49 of them but got no funds from the government so far. We are clueless about the other prisoners”, he said.

He said most of the TN fishermen who went to the Gulf in search of jobs got cheated by agents who took advantage of their poor education and ignorance of Arabic language. And when these men landed at their workplaces to slog in fishing trawlers as cheap contract labourers, their bosses kept them almost like prisoners after confiscating their passports.

“The government should take immediate steps to bring these fishermen back. Their families are in utter distress,” another rights campaigner here said.

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