Gandhinagar, Mar 15: As many as 362 Indian fishermen, mostly hailing from Gujarat and captured in the recent past, are lodged in Pakistan jail, the state government informed the Legislative Assembly here today.
Gujarat Fisheries Minister Babu Bokhiria, who gave this information while replying to a query raised by Congress MLA Punjabhai Vansh during the session, also said that of these 362 fishermen, Pakistan would be releasing 86 on March 21.
Vansh sought details of action taken by Gujarat government to bring back fishermen and their boats captured by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) in the recent past.
In his response, Bokhiria said that out of the total 448 fishermen from Gujarat lodged in jail in the neighbouring country, 86 have come back.
"As of now, 362 are still there in the jail. Out of them, another batch of 86 will be freed on March 21," Bokhiria said.
Giving details about the status of boats seized by PMSA, the minister said that there is no hope to get back all the 702 boats captured by Pakistani authorities between 2004-05 to 2013-14, as they have disposed off these boats, Bokhiria said.
"However, out of 124 boats captured during last two years, Pakistan have returned 57 boats recently and agreed to release another 22 boats which are in working condition," the minister said.
The Congress MLA further requested the government to expedite the process of bringing back bodies of two fishermen, who died in the Pak jail few months back.
Vansh also claimed that one fishermen in Pak jail is in coma, while another is suffering from paralysis. He urged the minister to do something quickly to bring them back to India.
"Gujarat government has already written a letter to Centre to bring back dead bodies here at the earliest," Bokhiria said.