NAGERCOIL: Six Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, languishing in Iran for several months, returned home yesterday. They arrived at Chennai airport on Sunday morning. The fishermen said they had fished in Iran but over the past two months have been left behind when their sponsor refused to provide them with wages, food and medical facilities. “It’s because we couldn’t get a good catch,” said the fishermen.
They then appealed to the Indian Embassy to help them return to India. The six fishermen were identified as Varghese from Chinnathura in Kanniyakumari district, Arumugam from Tindivanam in Villuppuram district, Ezhumalai from Cuddalore, Sathish and Chelladurai from Thanjavur and Justin from Kochuthope, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
Rehabilitation and welfare of non-resident Tamil commission officials received them at the airport and sent them to their places of origin. Deputy Director K Ramesh said: “After dropping off fishermen in Cuddalore and Tindivanam, fishermen from Thanjavur, Kanniyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram were taken by car to Tiruchy, from where they left by bus. The Non-Resident Tamil Welfare and Rehabilitation Commission organized the car, bus tickets and food.
Arriving at his home on Sunday evening, Varghese, from Chinnathura, Kanniyakumari told TNIE that he and the others went to Iran in early March last year, based on the understanding of receiving a share (salary) for fishing catches. The owner of the boat was an Iranian national. “The owner of the boat did not give us our share. The captain of the boat, from Tamil Nadu, supported his decision, ”he said.
He said three other fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry returned home paying money but could not. “We didn’t have any money. The Indian Embassy helped us get home, ”he said. The fisherman noted that he and Justin were given 1 lakh for traveling to Iran. “Now we are broke,” he said.