Vadodara, Jan 11: The first batch of 74 fishermen out of the 147 released by Pakistan arrived today at Veraval in the state's Girsomnath district.
Joyous scenes accompanied their arrival at the premises of the Fisheries Department in Veraval with near and dear ones embracing them and giving them a traditional welcome.
"I am so happy to be with my family and in my country," said Sanjay Puna Bamaniya of Velan village in Girsomnath's Una tehsil. "I am looking forward to celebrating the festival of kites on January 14," said Pola Jina Bariya of Kob village in Kodinar tehsil.
The fishermen had left from Vadodara at midnight after their arrival from Amritsar, officials said. The fishermen were arrested by Pakistani authorities for straying into its territorial waters in March last year. They had been released by the neighbouring country on January 8.
The remaining 73 fishermen released by Pakistan are expected to reach Vadodara later tonight, said officials.