India releases 19 Pakistani fishermen

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Wagah Border, June 1 (ANI): India on Monday released nineteen detained Pakistani fishermen at the Wagah border in Punjab.

These fishermen were detained for trespassing into Indian waters off the Gujarat coast over two years ago.

On being nabbed by the Indian Coast Guard, they had been languishing in a jail in the port city of Porbandar in Gujarat.

The fishermen, who were visibly excited at the prospect of returning to their homes, were handed over to Pakistani Rangers near the Zero-Line on the Wagah-Attari Road.

Overwhelmed by emotion they walked free into Pakistani territory.

Earlier, speaking to the media persons, couple of these fishermen demanded that there should be a system to clearly mark territorial waters to avoid such incidents.

"We work as fishermen. We were caught in our boat in the Indian waters. There are no signposts in water, and it is easy to lose direction. You are surrounded by water, and there are only the skies to guide you there," said Fazil Alim.

"The authorities should check and verify the trespassers. If a person is found not to be a smuggler or terrorist, he must be released. Why should a person languish for years in a jail if he is not guilty?" observed Tariq Shah.

Indian Coast Guard had apprehended the fishermen when their Pakistani trawler 'Gul-e-Sarvar' crossed the maritime boundary.

Last year on December 29, Pakistan released over 100 Indian fishermen, and in return, India released 31 Pakistani fishermen on January 2, 2010. (ANI)

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