Udayavni Special

Missing fishermen issue: Home minister visits Udupi, takes stock of the situation


Team Udayavani, Jan 6, 2019, 5:32 AM IST

Udupi: A review meeting over the missing Suvarna Tribhuja boat along with its crew was held by the home minister M B Patil at DC conference hall Rajathadri Manipal here on Saturday, January 5.

Mr Patil addressed the participants in the meeting and said, “No one should play politics over the issue. Fishermen are worried. From the beginning, both the union and state government are putting their best efforts in tracing the boat and fishermen. We have taken necessary action in possible ways. Every day the Navy and Air Force, along with coastal security force are looking for the boat and fishermen.”

“We want transparency in the investigation and want to build trust among fishermen. We are always there with their families,” he assured.

The district in-charge minister Dr Jayamala and the home minister have requested the Malpe Fishermen Association to withdraw their protest. SP Laxman Nimbargi gave progress report of the investigation.

Showing their disappointment at district in-charge minister, Yashpal Suvarna, president of Dakshina Kannads Fish Sellers’ Federation and Satish Kundar said that she did not communicate with the missing fishermen’s families till 18 days. They demanded the district in-charge minister to come to the place of protest on January 6.

Dr Jayamala explained that the fisheries minister will come on January 8. “I was in constant touch with Pramod Madhwaraj and instructed him to meet the families. I was not available for some days. Hence, I was not able to communicate,” she said.

Convincing the Fishermen Association Members MLA Raghupati Bhat said, “We should respect the home minister that he came to Udupi for the first time on behalf of the state government. Let us give them a chance to sort the issue out.”

Speaking on the issue, former district in-charge minister Pramod Madhwaraj said, “Malpe fishermen are under depression. So there is a need to build confidence among them. They should get security from Goa and Maharashtra government.”

Hearing to explanations and arguments of the officials and the members of the fishermen association, the home minister directed Jayamala to meet the protestors and accept memorandum from them. “Definitely, I will speak to the union home minister ones I get an appointment. But all I need is some time. I do not want to play politics here,” he said and directed the fishermen to start fishing activities.

“We will instruct the concerned investigating departments to intensify the search operation. If necessary, I will also discuss about enforcing SOS system not only in Karnataka but also across India for safeguarding the lives of fishermen,” assured the home minister.

The investigation

Speaking at the meeting SP Nimbargi said, “During the course of investigation, we informed all police stations across India and Coast Guard through Coastal Security Police (CSP) as the boat is missing in deep sea. Udupi district police have formed three teams and one team from CSP have been deputed for special duty in searching the missing persons along with the boat in Goa and Maharashtra.

“Udupi district police and CSP are carrying out search aerially through helicopters besides ships over the sea. Indian Coast Guard has pressed into service their ships, and hovercrafts. Aircrafts and helicopters are carrying out sea-air search in coordination with commercial ships and Marine Police Boats for the missing fishing boat and fishermen. Udupi district police and CSP team visited the police officers of jurisdictional and the coastal police of Goa, Sindhudurg, Malwan and Ratnagiri districts of Maharashtra. IGP, Western Range, IGP, ISD, Karnataka and I have personally communicated with our counterparts in West Coast states for enlisting their efforts in this regard,” he informed.

Rumor

The SP clarified of the WhatsApp rumours that a container was found in Maharshtra and said, “SP of Sindhudurg is holding investigation in order to get more information.”

Protest not withdrawn

Despite the meeting, progress and assurances, the Malpe Fishermen Association did not agree to withdraw the protest scheduled on January 6. They also informed that fishermen from the three districts will join protest as planned. “We are not convinced by the promises made by the home minister,” they argued.

Several Congress leaders and officials participated in the meeting including IGP western range Arun Chakravarthi, deputy commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis, ADC Vidya Kumari, Byndoor MLA Sukumar Shetty, Kundapur MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty, district Congress president Janardhan Thonse, Mohiddin Bava, M A Gafoor, SP Uttara Kannada Patil Vinayak Vasantarao, ADGP Mohan Prasad, ASP Kumarchandra and Navy, Army, Coastal security guard bureaucrats and others.

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