The mortal remains of the 35-year-old fisherman from Gujarat who had died in Karachi jail in Pakistan in December last year, were finally flown into the country on Saturday. “The body of Bhikha Lakha Shiyal was transported on a Pakistan International Airlines flight and reached Mumbai airport at around 3 p.m.,” said J.B. Ghadiya, senior official of the Gujarat Fisheries Department who received the body at the airport.
The body will be taken to Shiyal’s native Garal in Junagadh district by road, he told PTI over phone.
“The Gujarat government has deputed two officers, including Mr.Ghadiya and J. K. Rathod, to carry the mortal remains to Shiyal’s town,” said P. L. Darbar, Gujarat Fisheries Commissioner. Shiyal was reportedly captured, along with seven fishermen, by sleuths of the Pakistani Maritime Security on October 25 last year, when their fishing trawler allegedly entered into Pakistan’s territorial waters. Shiyal and others were reportedly fishing near Jakhau port in Kutch district when the incident happened.
According to authorities, Shiyal died at Malir Jail in Karachi where he was lodged, on December 19 last year. However, his family was informed about his death only last month. His family had alleged that Shiyal was tortured to death. The issue shot into prominence after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi sought intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Shiyal’s minor daughter had also written to Ms.Gandhi and the Prime Minister seeking their help in arranging visas for Shiyal’s family members to visit Karachi jail. Ms. Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel had also taken up the issue with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on February 10.