HC orders notice to External Affairs ministry on fishermen

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Chennai, Dec 17 (UNI) The Madras High Court today ordered a notice to the External Affairs Ministry, returnable by January 7, 2008 on a petition seeking a direction from the court to enable four Myanmar fishermen to return to their country.

Admitting a writ petition by Overseas Indian Organisation a NGO, a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Mr Justice M Venugopal also ordered the notice to Ministry of Home Affairs, the Chief Immigration Officer-South Zone- Chennai, State Home Secretary and The District Collector, Chennai Secretary of the organisation Mr K Gurumurthy submitted in his writ petition that the four fishermen who had drifted to the shores of our country due to the act of the nature one year ago and were in need of humanitarian aid to enable them to reach their country.

The four fishermen had strayed to shores of Chennai as the craft in which they were fishing near Myanmar sea drifted to the waters of the Bay of Bengal due to a storm. They miraculously survived from the onslought of the storm and were rescued by Chennai fishermen at Mahabalipuram. Later, they were brought to Kasimedu police station where they were remanded for offences under the Passport Act.

After coming know about the incident through newspapers, the organization took steps and the fishermen were currently under his protection, he submitted.

The petitioner also submitted that he had approached the Nodal Committee for sending the fishermen back to the country of their origin and the committee after due interrogation and verification, declared them as innocent and that they could be sent back to their country, he submitted.

Hence the petitioner prayed the court to direct the respondent to issue exit visa and other necessary documents to the four fishermen.

UNI

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