Men in Pak boat suspected ultras, says Parrikar

Men in Pak boat suspected ultras, says Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that circumstantial evidence indicates that Pakistani boat’s crew members were “suspected or possible terrorists”.

Parrikar’s statement refutes the Opposition’s stand questioning reports that a terror strike was prevented due to a December 31 midnight operation off Porbandar in the Arabian Sea against a Pakistani fishing vessel.

“The most important factor for classifying them as suspected or probable terrorists is they committed suicide, ‘harakiri’. Even normal boat with drugs would throw them away and surrender unless they are motivated to do it,” Parrikar said.

Pointing to another fact that increased suspicion, Parrikar said: “The route taken is not normal fishing route and it is not a fishing area. Even smugglers take a busy route to pass off as a fishing boat.”

Expressing doubts that the crew could be smugglers, the minister sarcastically remarked that smugglers don’t contact Pakistani maritime security agencies or their army officers.
Parrikar said that he was saying these things on the basis of “circumstantial evidence”.

On January 2, the defence ministry had said that the cornered Pakistani fishing trawler, with four occupants, had been blown up on December 31 midnight after it was chased by the Indian Coast Guards on the basis of intelligence inputs.

The intelligence agencies had intercepted conversation between the people on board the boat and Pakistani maritime security officials.

Separately, another conversation between the crew and someone in Thailand was intercepted.

The Congress had created a row when one of their spokespersons wanted to know on what basis the government was saying that it had prevented a terror attack and the occupants of the boats were terrorists.

Interestingly, Parrikar’s first reaction was straight.

The minister had merely congratulated the Coast Guards for “intercepting the rogue vessel off the coast of Gujarat, in a timely and precise manner, thereby, averting a possible danger”.

 “A normal boat, even carrying some drugs, can throw away the drugs and surrender. No one is going to be killing himself unless you are motivated enough to do that,” the minister said.

Parrikar felt that the boatmen’s suspicious act supported his contention. “(I am) Not speculating that it had explosives but it had some activity in mind that does not fit the description of smuggling boat,” Parrikar said, adding all details would be released soon.

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