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'Pak jail officials treated us inhumanly'

December 26, 2009 21:53 IST

It was a hellish experience inside the prisons in Pakistan, said fishermen on their arrival in Attari, Amritsar, on Saturday evening after being set free by Islamabad.

"It is unbelievable that we are here," they, still in a state of shock, said recounting their ordeal in the prisons in the neighbouring country.

Over 100 fishermen, including nine teenagers, all of them from Gujarat, crossed over to India after languishing in Pakistani prisons for periods ranging from one to five years.

They were arrested by Pakistan on charges of illegal fishing in the Arabian Sea.

Narrating his experience, Ramesh said, "the atmosphere in Pakistani prisons was hellish. No medical facilities were made available to us."

"Only in rare cases, the medical aid was provided," he said.

"But, we were in touch with our families in India through letters," he said heaving a sigh of relief after setting foot on the Indian soil.

Struggling to hold back tears, Chotu Bahi, one of the fishermen, said, "After I was arrested, I was confined in a dingy cell in the jail. The quality of food served was also bad."

Sarita Lal, another released fisherman, said, "The attitude of the Pakistani jail officials was awful. They treated us inhumanly."

"The food served to us could be compared with grass served to animals," he said.

Uncertainty gripped the freed fishermen as they said they would not be not in a position to restart their work since their boats were still in the possession of Pakistan.

They said the cost of their boats varied from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.
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