Bodies of two Indian fishermen arrive from Pakistan

Vadodara: The bodies of two Indian fishermen hailing from Gujarat who died in a Pakistani jail arrived in Mumbai on Thursday and will be handed over to their families tomorrow.

The mortal remains of Vaaga Bijal Chauhan and Ratandas Makwana were brought to Mumbai by a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight, officials said.

A team of four officials of Fisheries Department of the Gujarat Government was sent to Mumbai yesterday to take possession of the bodies.

The arrangement was made after the Gujarat Government received a message from Indian High Commissioner’s office in Islamabad on Tuesday, said Mohammed A Narmavala, Commissioner (Fisheries).

“The coffins carrying the bodies were brought in a PIA flight which arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai at around 11:30 this morning,” G K Rathod, a member of the Government-deputed team, told PTI by phone.

“We spent about three hours at the airport completing the required formalities and left Mumbai at 14:30 pm,” he said, adding two ambulances carrying the coffins are on their way to Gujarat.

Chauhan was a resident of Dandi village, while Makwana hailed from Nanavada village, both in Gir Somnath district.

The bodies will be handed over to the families of Chauhan and Makwana tomorrow for performing the last rites, Rathod said.

Chauhan died in a Karachi jail on December 22, 2015, while Makwana passed away on February 8, 2016. Both were held in April last year when their boats allegedly entered territorial waters of Pakistan while fishing in Sir Creek area in the Arabian Sea.

The exact cause of their death is not known, but their families suspect they died due to ill-treatment in jail.