Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy: Folklore Research Academy
Srinagar: In a joint statement Jatin Desai and Ramesh Yadav said that it is a matter of serious concern that more than hundred fishermen from India have been arrested by the Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) on March 25, 2017. Along with this, 19 fishing boats have also been seized.
The number of arrests is extremely high and this has not happened in the recent past.
In the Saurashtra region this is affecting the economy in a severe manner. Arrests of this kind create an atmosphere of fear within the community and hesitation to go to the sea. This ultimately affects the fishing industry as a whole.
Moreover, it is not only the fishermen but his entire family and community suffers. It has been observed that young children are deeply affected by family members getting arrested as this affects their upbringing and the rigour and support that they require to carry on their education.
It is high time that the Indian Coast Guard and the MSA must dialogue on this issue specifically since it is a violation of human rights and also a violation of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea. A meeting is scheduled next month and we urge both the governments to discuss this issue in detail.
The various mechanisms set up like the India Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners must be revived since it gives the arrested people an opportunity to put forward their case status, their grievances, health related issues etc. The people of both the countries have since years been demanding for a No Arrest Policy which has not even been considered for discussion till now.
Because of a complete pause on the dialogue, the effect of this is faced the most by the fishing community since their life and livelihood is at stake. It is also true that the fishermen belonging to Pakistan have been going through this same situation.
We appreciate the release of over 400 fishermen over December 2016- January 2017 by the Pakistan Government but it is important that both countries maintain the policy of peace and dialogue and the people are not made victims of the politically created hostilities between the two countries.