Friday, September 25, 2009

4 months on, Kasimedu fishermen back home

Pix courtesy: J Manoharan

Published Date: 25/9/2009
By G Saravanan

Chennai, September 24: AFTER nearly a four-month ordeal, three of eight fishermen, who ventured into the sea for fishing in May from Kasimedu and reported missing, have rejoined their families on Thursday.

Thanks to the Tamil Nadu government’s persistent efforts to bring them back from Bangladesh where they had reached after their mechanised fishing trawler drifted mid sea after a technical snag.

After a tearful wait for an hour at the lobby of the Meenambakkam Airport, families of three fishermen, Mahendran (boat driver), Thangaraj and Desingh heaved a sigh of relief when the flight from Kolkata carrying them touched down the tarmac here.

Immediately after reaching Chennai, the trio and the Fisheries Department officials have met the State Fisheries Minister K P P Samy, who played a pivotal role in bringing them back to Kasimedu from Bangladeshi jail, at his residence.

Speaking exclusively to Express, Mahendran recalled the days they spent on sea. “Mechanical fault forced our boat to drift mid sea and for about 50 days, we were on sea without food and we drank seawater,” he said.

It was Bangladesh fishermen who found the three fishermen in unconscious state in a damaged fishing boat near their territorial water and handed them over to local police at Ranghapalli locality.

According to Mahendran, the other five fishermen, Rajan, Alagiri, Nixon, Nithin alias Navis and Babu, had jumped into sea with empty gallons to find any other boat in the vicinity, but the three remained in the boat.

When the Tamil Nadu fishermen were found in Bangladesh through local sources, Indian High Commission in Dhaka took up the matter with the government there for their early repatriation through diplomatic channel.

After obtaining green signal from the Indian High Commission, a team of Fisheries Department officials and M E Raghupathy, president of Chennai-Tiruvallur- Kancheepuram District Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association went on a mission to get custody of these fishermen a few days back.
Speaking to Express, Viji, wife of Mahendran, said, “I am thankful to the Tamil Nadu government and the Minister Samy for their untiring efforts.”

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