Sorry India, but it’s been over two years and your citizens are still sitting in a Somali hell hole for no good reason. Leaving them to perish is NOT an option.
Since March 2010, the Indian and Yemeni crew of the hijacked vessel MV Iceberg I has sat languishing under horrific conditions in Somalia, largely forgotten by everyone except their families, and at least one crewmember has committed suicide.
The Indian government has responded with complete inaction.
In a report today by Ashutosh Kumar from DNA News Agency, Dadasaheb Jadhav, 50, father of Swapnil comments, “Do you think anyone in the government cares about what happens to my son?”
Swapnil is one of the 13 Indians still held hostage by Somali captors. Jadhav stares blankly at a poster of a ship and waits for a call that has not come for two years.
The report continues:
The families are struggling. Jadhav, living in a 100sqft house in Karad district, makes Rs10,000 a month. But the bulk of the amount goes in repaying loan that he took to educate Swapnil. His savings are now over and there is no word on Swapnil either.
A few hundred kilometres to the north, in Nashik, Purshottam Tiwari, is waiting for a call from his son Dheeraj, also held hostage on MV Iceberg. Tiwari retired as a subedar-major in 2008 and has been working hard to support his family of three. The shipping company that had employed the six Indian seamen stopped paying them since they were held hostage. More than the financial troubles, it is the emotional trauma that haunts them.
In Ambala, Haryana, Nirmal Singh has been struggling to raise her three-year-old son Abhimanyu who last saw his father even before he could understand his relationship with him. In Mumbai, Mansinh Vitthal Mohite is recovering from a debilitating stroke. His son Ganesh is still trapped on the MV Iceberg.
“The PM says we don’t talk to pirates. In such a case, whom do we approach to get our children back? Look at the US. See how they care for their citizens. Our children are held hostage and no one is ready to raise a finger. And we call ourselves a superpower,” said Mohite.
Granted the United States certainly has a stronger special operations capability to mount a hostage recovery mission, but the other option of paying off the Somali pirates is still on the table. The entire world realizes paying off hostage-takers sets a bad precedent, but after two years of inaction a far worse precedent has been set.
The United States doesn’t turn a blind eye to it’s citizens under duress, will India?