Government must act, says hijacked, Indian crewmember's family


In the hope of hearing of his release, the family of Raghubir Singh Pathania, chief engineer of the ship hijacked in the Gulf of Aden Oct 15, has been glued to the television. His family lives in Fatehpur village near Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district.
"For the past five days we have been praying for their safe release. We are really at sea. News channels on television are the only source of our information. We are constantly surfing news channels to know the fate of the hijacked crew," Deepika Pathania, the wife of Raghubir Pathania, said on phone.
She said the Indian government has not approached the family so far in this regard.
"Till date, the central government has not approached us. We got information about the ship hijack from company authorities. But now nobody is telling us the fate of the hijacked crew staff.
"We have no information on where the ship is anchored and what is the negotiation going on between the pirates and the company. The Indian government should at least apprise us about the latest situation," she rued.
Pathania has been working with the Singapore-based Pacific International Ltd (PIL) for the past 10 years. PIL's ship M.V. Kota Wajar was hijacked Oct 15.
Raghubir's father Pritam Singh said he had apprised Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal about the situation and requested him to take up the issue of safe release of the crew with the central government.
"I have requested Dhumalji to take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh so that the crew can return safely. The central government should exert pressure on the ship company and the government of Somalia to press for negotiations with the hijackers," he said.
Raghubir last spoke to his family Oct 7 on phone. "We got the last call from Raghubir Oct 7. On that day, he was sailing from Kenya," said Deepika, a doctor by profession.
The central government Monday said it had intensified efforts to secure the release of two Indian crew members on board the Singaporean ship.
The Indian mission is in regular touch with the Singaporean company as well as the shipping company, an official source said in Delhi.
"Indian High Commissioner T.C.A. Raghavan has approached the Singapore government. They (Indians) are said to be safe," the source said.

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