Indians held hostage by Somali pirates: SC asks govt to reply

The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to file its response on a plea seeking direction to it to expedite the release of Indians held captive by Somalian pirates in international waters.

A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur issued notices to the Centre, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Shipping and Director General of Shipping on a petition filed by the wife of an Indian seamen claiming that her husband, along with six others, have been held hostage by Somalian pirates since September 2010.

In her plea filed through advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, Rajni Singh said on September 28, 2010, the pirates had hijacked a vessel, MV Asphalt Venture, which was managed by Mumbai-based OMCI Ship Management Pvt Ltd.

She said seven crew members of the ship are still in captivity of Somali pirates. She also referred to several similar incidents in which Indian citizens have been held hostage by the pirates.

“It is respectfully submitted that the above instances of the Somalian piracy itself raise a serious doubt on the issue of safety and security of the seamen as the persons who live at sea must not be put at risk,” the petition said.

It also alleged that due to the “lackadaisical approach” of the government, one of the Indian citizen was killed by the Somalian pirates.

“The non-effective response policy of the respondents towards the above said piracy incidents itself shows that the respondents, till date, have not adopted a proper mechanism on this issue and as such the same infringes the Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” it said.


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