1. Indian fisherman killed off Gujarat coast; Congress called it ‘unprecedented’

Indian fisherman killed off Gujarat coast; Congress called it ‘unprecedented’

The fisherman, identified as 40-year-old Iqbal, was killed in firing from an unidentified boat on his fishing vessel near the International Maritime Boundary Line off the Gujarat coast Friday morning.

By: | Ahmedabad/ New Delhi | Published: September 19, 2015 8:53 AM

An Indian fisherman was on Friday killed in firing from an unidentified boat at his vessel off the Gujarat coast even as the local fishermen association blamed the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (MSA) for the attack.

Indian fisherman Iqbal, 40, succumbed to his injuries after being hit by a bullet on right collar bone.
Giving details, the Coast Guard said its ship Vijit intercepted a VHF (very high frequency) call at 9:30 AM seeking assistance from an Indian fishing boat which was being fired upon by an “unidentified boat 10 NM (18.56 kms) across notional International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)”.

Two ships Vijit and Meera Behn – which were on patrol duty, were immediately diverted towards the position of incident to investigate and render assistance.

A Dornier aircraft was also pressed into action to carry out aerial surveillance.

“Vijit effected rendezvous with the boat and ascertained that the firing incident had resulted in the death of a fisherman. The remaining crew is safe,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The fishing vessel is being brought back to Okha in Gujarat.

Asked about the alleged involvement of Pakistan’s MSA, the official said a probe is underway and it would be premature to draw any conclusion at this stage.

The firing took place near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), Secretary of National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) Manish Lodhari said, adding Pakistan’s MSA was behind the attack.

“Iqbal was among six fishermen on the boat that had ventured into the sea from Okha port in Devbhoomi Dwarka district,” he said.

Cong says fisherman’s killing ‘unprecedented’, slams Centre

Describing the killing of a fisherman off the Gujarat coast as “despicable and unprecedented”, Congress on Friday slammed the Centre for “failing to act decisively” in spite of repeated land and sea “transgressions by Pakistan”.

“The killing of Gujarat fisherman in broad daylight by Pakistani forces is despicable and unprecedented… It is appalling that even after repeated land and sea transgressions by Pakistan, (the) government has failed to act decisively,” senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said in a series of tweets.

Patel, who is the political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and hails from Gujarat, said he had written to the Centre three months ago underlining the urgent need to strengthen Gujarat’s coastal security but “there was no response”.

At the AICC briefing, Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed too targeted the government on the issue.

“The Prime Minister will be well advised to give an account to the people of India as to why after more than 900 ceasefire violations from Pakistan where scores of civilians have died, Pakistan is blatantly killing Indian fishermen near Dwarka in Gujarat,” Shakeel Ahmed said.

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