Indian fisherman killed in firing by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency off Gujarat coast

An Indian fisherman died after the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) fired at his boat near the international maritime boundary line in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast. One of the seven crew members aboard the boat sustained a minor injury in the incident and is being treated at a hospital in Gujarat’s Okha. As per a police official, the incident occurred around 4 pm on Saturday.

“A fisherman from Thane in Maharashtra, who was on a fishing boat ‘Jalpari,’ was killed after the PMSA personnel opened fire on him and other crew members on Saturday evening. The boat had sailed from Okha on October 25,” Devbhumi Dwarka Superintendent of Police Sunil Joshi was quoted in a PTI report. An FIR is being registered by the Porbandar Navi Bandar police, who have jurisdiction in Gujarat over incidents that occur beyond 12 nautical miles in the Arabian Sea, the police official stated.

An investigation into the incident is underway. On Sunday, the body of the 32-year-old fisherman, Sridhar Ramesh Chamre, was brought to Okha port.

INDIA’S STATEMENT

In a statement, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said, “The case is under investigation at present by police authorities and the crew is being interviewed jointly. Details can be shared only after completion of the investigation.”

The ICG confirmed that there was a firing in which one person died and one person was injured. Further, official sources stated that India has “taken serious note” of the PMSA resorting to “unprovoked firing on an Indian fishing boat”. Firing on traditional fishing boats is a clear violation of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.

“We have taken serious note of this incident. We are going to take up this issue diplomatically with the Pakistan side. The matter is under investigation and further details will be shared in due course,” a source was quoted by PTI.

PAKISTAN’S STATEMENT

In its statement, Pakistan claimed that the boat had “illegally transgressed” into Pakistan’s territorial waters.

Further, the statement said that the PMSA had attempted to “warn” the Indian boat but fired at it when it paid no heed. “Pakistan Maritime Security Agency’s ships attempted to interdict the intruding boat, which even after repeated warnings did not respond or change course. PMSA ship fired warning shots in the vicinity of the Indian boat but again the boat did not stop its engines.

Subsequently, PMSA fired directly onto the Indian boat after which it halted,” the statement said. According to Pakistan’s statement, the other six people onboard the boat have been taken into custody for questioning. “PMSA faces security concerns arising from Indian maritime drug smuggling rings as well as transport of weapons and support to terrorist organisations,” the statement said. When asked about Pakistan’s claim that six Indians had been arrested, the ICG said, “Arrests not confirmed.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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