Union government has established contact with UAE

The Union government has established contact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to bring back the body of the fisherman killed in firing by United States naval personnel off the Dubai coast as early as possible, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, V. Narayanasamy, said on Thursday.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone from New Delhi, he said that the Centre was aware of the sentiments of the family members of A. Sekar. The Ministry of External Affairs was working out the details for bringing back the body. Indian Embassy officials in the UAE had been told to expedite the process. He hoped that the body would be brought back within a few days.

When his attention was drawn to eyewitnesses’ claim that no warning was given before the opening of fire from close quarters by personnel onboard the USNS Rappahannock, Mr. Narayanasamy said it was an unprovoked act and condemnable.

The firing, which claimed the life of the fisherman and left three others injured, could not be justified. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had expressed his displeasure over the incident.

Asked about the demand for legal action against the US marines, Mr. Narayanasamy said the Centre was taking sincere steps to impress upon the United Arab Emirates government the need for dealing with the incident as per law.

Since it had taken place in the territorial waters of the UAE, India could not take direct action. However, the Centre would take steps for ensuring a meaningful probe. Indian Embassy officials in Dubai were closely following the developments.

He said that the injured fishermen were recuperating. The Congress party had urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce solatium for the kin of Sekar and those injured.

He hoped that the Centre would soon announce compensation. TNCC Youth Congress president Yuvaraja, who met Sekar’s mother Nagavalli at Thoppuvalasai in Ramanathapuram district on Thursday, said that their demands would be forwarded to the Prime Minister.

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