The South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) has urged the Central and State governments to ensure the early repatriation of 27 Indian fishermen from the State and Kerala who have been detained in Iran for the last 55 days.

Its general secretary Fr. Churchill said that these fishermen were fishing in Saudi Arabian waters. On December 16, 11 fishermen, in three boats, were arrested by the Iran Coast Guard for trespassing into their country. The fishermen hailed from Kanyakumari and Ramanathapuram districts in Tamil Nadu and Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala.

Again, on December 20, a group of 16 fishermen, in four boats, were arrested by the Iran Coast Guard for trespass. These fishermen hailed from Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts in the State and Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala. Both groups of fishermen were detained in Iran. On January 5 only the fishermen were able to inform their relatives about their detention in Iran. On January 10, the fishermen were told that they would be released. For one week the fishermen remained in their boats for repatriation. But, on January 28, they were sent back to jail.

Sixteen fishermen had been lodged in Bhanthar Linka jail at Tharak and 11 fishermen in Bhanthar Abbas jail.

On March 21, Manoj, captain of a boat, had contacted Fr. Churchill and told they were remaining in their boats, waiting for repatriation.

Leema Rose, president, Tamil Nadu Meenavar Mahalir Peravai and Fr. Churchill, have sent memorandum to the Prime Minister of India and to the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to help in the repatriation of the fishermen. Their family members were having the same desire that the fishermen needed to come back to India because they had been suffering for more than 90 days in Iran.

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