CM urges PM to help bring back stranded TN fishermen

By PTI Published on Jun 21, 2018 04:54 PM IST

Chennai: Chief Minister K Palaniswami today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Indian Embassy in Iran to take necessary steps to bring back 21 Tamilnadu fishermen stranded in that country.

The fishermen from Tamilnadu stranded in Iran "are neither allowed to return to India nor allowed to continue fishing for which they were engaged as contract fishing labourers", he said in a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which was released to the media today.

"I request you to direct the Embassy of India in Iran to take all measures to ensure the immediate repatriation of these 21 poor innocent Indian fishermen," Palaniswami said.

In the recent past, he said, the Iranian employers had not paid the fishermen their share, as per terms of employment. The kin of the fishermen had made a representation to the authorities in districts including Kanyakumari, seeking steps for their early return.

These fishermen were struggling to make their ends meet and unable to send money to their families back home, Palaniswami pointed out.

The Chief Minister also urged that necessary steps "be taken to ensure that the fishermen receive their just and due wages".

Seeking immediate action in the matter, he said the families and dependants of the fishermen in Tamilnadu were anxious about their safety.

The 21 fishermen - eight from Kanyakumari district, seven from Tirunelveli district and six from Thoothukudi district - were engaged in fishing in three boats belonging to their Iranian employers for more than six months, he said.

Palaniswami said the fishermen lost hope of receiving a fair remuneration from their employers, and requested them to facilitate their return to India which was also denied.

It was "reported that the passports of the fishermen are in the custody of the local employers", who are neither allowing them to continue work nor allowing them to return to India.

The employer reportedly chased the fishermen from their accommodation and abandoned them in the streets without any shelter, food or security, the Chief Minister said.

The International Fishermen Development Trust had yesterday highlighted the plight of the 21 fishermen stranded in Iran and urged the Tamilnadu government to take steps for their safe return.