Indian fisherman killed in Pakistani firing

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) An Indian fisherman was killed in firing by Pakistani forces on an Indian boat in international waters off the Gujarat coast, a fishworkers’ association said on Friday. The Congress termed the killing “despicable”.

The fisherman, identified as Iqbal, hailed from Porbandar in Gujarat. He was among a group of six people on the fishing boat Prem Raj, which had set sail from the port of Okha, 500 km from Gandhinagar on September 8.

The firing took place near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), Manish Lodhari, an official of the National Fishworkers’ Forum, told the media.

“We learnt from the fishermen that several rounds were fired on the boat near the IMBL at 9 a.m. The fishing boat was registered in Okha. A fisherman named Iqbal (40) has been killed in the firing,” he said.

Following the shooting, the Indian Coastguard rushed ships, Vijit and Meeraben, to probe the incident. The Vijit is escorting fishing boat Prem Raj back to Okha.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel said on Twitter: “The killing of Gujarat fisherman in broad daylight by Pakistan forces is despicable and unprecedented.”

He said that three months ago, he had written to the central government on the “urgent need to strengthen Gujarat’s coastal security but there was no response”.

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