Fisherman killed off Guj coast

Fisherman killed off Guj coast

Unknown boat fires, flees into Pak waters

Fisherman killed off Guj coast
A 40-year-old fisherman Iqbal Bhatti was killed in the high-seas off Gujarat when an unidentified boat fired upon the Indian fishing vessel near the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) that separates India and Pakistan.

“From crew members we got to know that the bigger boat (which fired) had no name and there is no indication to point that it belongs to a particular organisation or a country,” said inspector general V S R Murthy, deputy director general (operations) in the Coast Guard.

Though local fishermen blamed Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency, there is no confirmation from the government side. An enquiry is on to find out the circumstances under which the Indian boat came under fire.

“At about 9:30 am on Friday, Indian Coast Guard ship Vijit intercepted VHF call seeking assistance for an Indian fishing boat being fired upon by an unidentified boat 10 nautical miles across the notional IMBL,” the Coast Guard stated.

Simultaneously, the Coast Guard station Okha, too, received the information from the owner of the fishing boat “Premraj” that the boat came under fire while fishing.

The mechanised fishing boat registered with the Okha port had gone out fishing five days ago with 41 crew members, including its captain.

On receiving the information, two Coast Guard ships ICGS Vijit and Meera Behn rushed to the spot to investigate and provide assistance. A Dornier aircraft, too, flew from Porbandar to undertake an aerial surveillance of the area.

When ICGS Vijit reached the position, the unidentified boat went into the Pakistani territorial waters. While Bhatti succumbed to the bullet injury, the remaining crew is safe.

The fishing boat is being escorted by ICGS Meera Behn and is likely to enter Okha at 11:00 pm on Friday. The crew would be interviewed by the officials in detail once they reach the port.

Coast Guard officials also met Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and briefed her about the security scenario along the 1,600 km long Gujarat coast, which is the one of the maritime hot zones because of its proximity to Pakistan coast.The Defence Ministry claimed to have neutralised two major infiltration attempts in that area in the last nine months.
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