• 17 July, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security

Freed by Qatar, ex-Indian Navy personnel on their return home laud PM Modi’s ‘personal intervention’

Mon, 12 Feb 2024   |  Reading Time: 3 minutes

New Delhi [India], February 12 (ANI): Former Indian Navy personnel who landed at the Delhi airport on Monday morning raised chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal intervention in their case following their release from a Qatar court after months of detention in the Gulf country.
The Ministry of External Affairs announced early Monday morning the release of the Indian nationals who were detained in Qatar.
“The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and homecoming of these nationals,” the statement said.
The men- Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh- were detained in August 2022.
On December 28, 2023, Qatar’s Court of Appeal commuted the death penalty awarded to all eight men in October 2023.
As the former Indian Navy personnel landed in Delhi, their happiness could not be contained. They said that they wouldn’t have been freed had it for the sustained diplomatic efforts at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s behest to secure their release.
On the sidelines of the COP 28 climate sustainability summit in Dubai in December last year, PM Modi met the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad and had a ‘good conversation’ about the well-being of the Indian community in Qatar. In a post on social media platform X, PM Modi posted a picture with Qatar’s Emir and wrote, “On the sidelines of the #COP28 Summit in Dubai yesterday, had the opportunity to meet HH Sheikh @TamimBinHamad, the Amir of Qatar. We had a good conversation on the potential of bilateral partnership and the well-being of the Indian community in Qatar.”
Speaking to ANI, one of the Navy veterans lauded PM Modi for raising their sentencing with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and said, “I feel relieved and delighted to finally be back home safe and sound. I wish to thank Prime Minister Modi as this wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for his personal intervention to secure our release. I also wish to express my gratitude to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar.”
Wearing a relieving smile and a calm demeanour, another released former naval officer told ANI, “Without the intervention of PM Modi, we would not have walked free. We wouldn’t be standing before you today had it not been for his untiring efforts and interventions at the highest levels to get us freedom.”
Another freed navy veteran also came out in praise of the Centre’s intervention in securing their release.
He said, “We, as well as our anxious family members back home, had been waiting for this day for a long time. It all worked out because of PM Modi and his personal intervention in the matter. He took up our case with the highest levels of the Qatari government and eventually secured our release. I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude to him and the Emir of Qatar.”
“We are very happy to be back, and it wouldn’t have been possible had the honourable Prime Minister not taken personal interest in the matter. I also thank the Qatar Emir for his personal involvement in the matter,” another former Navy officer told ANI.
“We waited almost 18 months to be back home to our loved ones in India. We are extremely grateful to PM Modi for getting us back. We wouldn’t have seen this day without the joint efforts of PM Modi and the Emir of Qatar. The personal equations that the two leaders share also helped in our release,” another Navy veteran told ANI after landing in Delhi.
Amid desperate pleas by the anxious kin of the Navy veterans to secure their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs had assured that it would mobilise all diplomatic channels and arrange legal assistance to bring them back. (ANI)

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