Chennai: Chief minister J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday appealed to Prime Minister to intervene and secure the release of three fishermen of Tamil Nadu detained in a Doha prison after straying into Qatari waters. She also wanted him to help get the body of T. Karthikeyan, the fourth fisherman in their boat, who was killed when the Qatar coast guard opened fire at them early hours of Sunday.
In a letter to Mr Narendra Modi, copies of which were released to the media here, the CM said it had been ascertained that these four fishermen, in the course of their fishing activities, had inadvertently strayed into Qatari waters when the Qatar coast guard opened fire killing one of them and arresting the other three — Ayyappan, Raju and Samayamuthu. Hailing from Ramanathapuram district, these four poor and innocent men were working in Bahrain on contract basis to earn a meager livelihood and support their families, she said.
“The family of the deceased fisherman is shattered and seek the early return of his body. The arrested fishermen are the sole breadwinners of their families and if their immediate release is not secured, the fishermen and their families will be put to great financial and mental hardship,” she told the Prime Minister in her letter. She appealed to him to direct the Indian embassies in Qatar and Bahrain to take urgent steps for transporting Karthikeyan’s body and securing the release of the three detained men.
She also requested that the Indian embassy at Bahrain could take up with the employer company to ensure that the terminal monetarly benefits due to Karthikeyan are released to his family “without any delay”. Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister announced a cash relief of `5 lakh to the family of Karthikeyan who had been working in Bahrain on contract basis for the last four months.