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113 Indian fishermen set free by Pak arrive in Gujarat


Vadodara: 113 Indian fishermen, who were released from Pakistan jails on June 19, have arrived here.

The fishermen, who were apprehended by Pakistan marine security in the last one to three years from Arabian sea in Kutch district, bordering Pakistan, arrived at Vadodara from Amritsar last night and embarked to their respective villages on the same night.

The fishermen belonged to various districts of Gujarat — Junagarh, Gir Somnath, Jamnagar, Vanakbara, Mangrol, Kodinar, Daman and Diu and few from Uttar Pradesh.

One of the fishermen, Bhagwan Babubhai on arriving at Wagah border, Attari said, “I broke into tears after stepping in India at the Wagah border.”

Vadodara Mayor Bharat Shah, who was present to receive the contingent, said all the fishermen are very excited and happy to return home. He said he hope that with efforts of Gujarat Fishermen Association and the Central and State government, remaining 361 fishermen who are still languishing in Pakistani jails, would be freed soon.

Many fishermen said that they used to pray in a make shift temple in the jail while their fellow Muslim fishermen were allowed to pray at the mosque in the jail premises.

Fisherman Kamlesh, who hails from Diu, said, “as soon as we saw the Indian tricolour at the Indo-Pak border, we started crying. We were given a very warm welcome at the border.”

Meanwhile, India on Sunday also released 88 Pakistani fishermen as a “goodwill” gesture.

Indian and Pakistani fishermen are often held by marine security forces for allegedly crossing into each others’ territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.

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