India-Pakistan group seeks early release of fishermen’s bodies from Pakistan

Mumbai, March 30 (IANS) The Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) on Wednesday petitioned External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for an early release of the bodies of Indian fishermen which are decomposing in a Pakistan morgue.

In a statement, PIPFPD general secretary Jatin Desai said that while one fisherman, Vaaga Chauhan, died on December 12, 2015, nearly four months ago, Ratan Das passed away on February 8 this year. Both hailed from the coastal Saurashtra region of Gujarat.

Their bodies have been lying in the Edhi Trusts’ morgue in Karachi, and despite all efforts by their families they have not been released and handed over for the last rites.

“We learn that the bodies of the two fishermen have already started decomposing, and if they are not sent back in the next couple of days, they may not be in a state to be transported. It’s a matter of serious concern,” Desai said.

On Tuesday, he wrote to Sushma Swaraj appealing her to understand the pain and anguish of the families of the deceased who want to perform the last rites.

“Ideally, whenever someone dies, the body should be sent back to his/her home country in the next available flight. There cannot be any justification for keeping bodies for months. This is happening regularly in the case of poor fishermen,” Desai said.

Urging the governments of India and Pakistan to view the issue from a humanitarian angle, the PIPFPD said the two neighbours should evolve a permanent solution to the dead fisherfolk concerning both sides, instead of pointing fingers at each other.

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