21 fishermen from Tamil Nadu stranded in Iran without pay, official documents; government says they will be brought home safely

Nagercoil: 21 fishermen from Tamil Nadu who went to Iran for jobs are in dire straits, with no pay and little food. Their travel documents have been impounded by their employer, a fishermen's welfare body said on Wednesday, and urged the government to take steps for their safe return.

They belong to Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, and Tirunelveli districts. They had gone to Iran to take up fishing on a "share in income" arrangement with a firm, International Fishermen Development Trust president P Justin Antony said.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

"The fishermen went to a location near Bandar Abbas in Iran about a year ago after paying a huge sum in India to agents who assured them of a lucrative income," Antony.

He said the victims decided to go abroad as fishing was not so remunerative back home.

However, they were not paid for about six months, and their passports and other travel documents were taken away by the firm, he alleged.

"This has put them in a very difficult situation and they are struggling to meet even basic needs like food. The kin of the fishermen have requested the district authorities to take steps for their safe return," he said.

A Kanyakumari district official said eight of the fishermen are from the district, and steps are underway to bring all the 21 fisherfolk back.

"The process is on. All authorities concerned are being notified to help bring our fishermen back home,” the official said.

Antony said the Centre should work with countries like Iran, where Indian fishermen take up assignments, to ensure they are covered by the labour laws of the nations of their employment.

Noting that such agreements will help fishermen, he said the Indian embassies should hold a 'grievance day meet' with them periodically to address their problems.

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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 18:46:12 IST

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