Opposition attacks government over sailors hostage crisis

Dissatisfied with Krishna's response, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj staged a walk out from the house.

The government had to face the opposition ire on a day when the deadline set by Somali pirates for paying $4 million ransom to secure the release of six Indian sailors on board Egyptian cargo vessel M.V. Suez is set to expire.

The pirates had hijacked the vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Aug 2 last year. Besides the six Indians, the ship’s crew includes four Pakistanis, four Sri Lankans and 11 Egyptians.

Krishna said he was in touch with the local governments and ship owners to find a solution to the hostage crisis, adding that piracy was a complicated international issue.

"We can only stress with them (local governments and ship owners) to do all they can for the Indians’ safety and secure their release," he noted,

Assuring that the sailors' safe return was of highest priority for the government, the minister said he was personally in touch with the Egyptian ambassador in India.

Reacting to Krishna’s response to her question, Swaraj said it only showed the government’s “helplessness” on the matter and staged a walk out along with her party members.

According to Krishna, a total of 79 Indian crew members on board seven ships are being held hostage by Somali pirates at present.

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