India to facilitate more visits for kin of ex-Navymen detained in Qatar: MEA

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India to facilitate more visits for kin of ex-Navymen detained in Qatar: MEA

Asserting that the release of eight former Navymen is a matter of high priority for India, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that it is facilitating more visits to Qatar for their family members.

New Delhi: Asserting that the release of eight former Navymen is a matter of high priority for India, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that it is facilitating more visits to Qatar for their family members.

The eight men, who have been detained in Qatar for nearly four months on unspecified charges, were working at the Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a private company owned by an ex-Oman Air Force officer.

“The visit of more family members to Qatar is being facilitated. And of course, our Embassy in Doha is continuing to pursue the matter, which has high priority for us,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said while addressing a weekly media briefing.

Last week, Indian officials were given consular access to the detainees for the second time. The Indian nationals also met Embassy officials in Doha, who confirmed their well being.

“Since then (last consular access), some more family members from India have recently travelled and met their family members who have been detained,” Bagchi told reporters.

The spokesperson declined to comment on the possible charges against the men.

“I would not like to comment on the legal process… you will have to ask the Qatari authorities,” Bagchi said.

Among the eight Indians in custody is Commander Purnendu Tiwari (retd), the managing director of the Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services.

The other detained officers are Cdr Navtej Singh Gill, director (naval training); Cdr Birendra Kumar Verma, director of the Naval Academy; Cdr Sugunakar Pakala, director, FCN; Cdr Sanjeev Gupta; Cdr Amit Nagpal; Capt Saurab Vasisht; and Ragesh Gopakumar.

The men have been detained since August 30, but the Indian Embassy in Doha became aware of the arrests only in mid-September last year.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had told the Rajya Sabha that “this is a very sensitive case. Their interests are foremost in our minds. Ambassadors and senior officials are in constant touch with Qatar’s government. We assure you, they are our priority”.

More than 8,000 Indians are currently imprisoned in foreign jails and out of these, 4,389 are lodged in the Gulf nations, according to Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan.


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