Fishing villages across Palghar district observed a bandh to protest the killing of fisherman Sridhar Chamre off the Gujarat coast on Saturday, even as Gujarat police filed murder and attempt to murder charges against 10 unidentified Pakistan marine commandos.
Chamre (32), a resident of Vadrai fishing village in Palghar, was employed on the Gujarat registered trawler Jal Pari that was caught in a firing by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency. The commandos arrived in two boats and fired at the Indian trawler. Three bullets pierced Chamre’s chest, killing him on the spot.
A bullet brushed past the cheek of Dilip Solanki (34), the trawler pilot and resident of Diu. Based on Solanki’s complaint, Navi Bandar police in Porbandar filed a case under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of IPC against 10 unidentified PMSA personnel. In his statement to police, Solanki said 10 men in two boats fired at the trawler near the International Maritime Boundary Line at Jakhau in Kutch.
The autopsy of Chamre’s body was performed at Jamnagar government hospital on Monday. MEA officials are believed to have flown into Jamnagar to ascertain the nature of bullets. The Indian government is lodging a strong protest against the firing, which was described as “unprovoked”.
Fishermen from Vadrai and Tembhi villages observed a total bandh. Fishing activities were stalled, shops shut and auto kept off the roads. Posters condemning the killing were put up across the district. In the fishing villages of Bhayander and Vasai-Virar, too, locals protested and demanded compensation for the family.
Satpati police API Sudhir Daherkar said it was a peaceful protest. Neither the state nor the Centre has issued any statement on compensation for the victim’s family. Chamre is survived by his wife, two minor daughters and parents. His body is expected to arrive on Tuesday. Arrangements for the funeral have been made, said Manendra Arekar, vicepresident, Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti.
Police have been deployed in the village. Residents of the village were in a state of shock since Sunday after getting the news of Chamre’s death in the firing. They said if at all the boat had entered the Pakistan waters, the crew members could have been held captive by the neighbouring country instead of being fired upon.
Chamre’s father claimed the boat carrying the seven fishermen had not crossed the border.