‘We Request Consular Access To 8 Former Indian Navy Officers In Qatar Custody’: MEA Spokesperson

‘We Request Consular Access To 8 Former Indian Navy Officers In Qatar Custody’: MEA Spokesperson

The Indian authorities are requesting consular access from the Qatari government for eight former navy personnel who were imprisoned in Doha, according to Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, news agency ANI reported. 

Speaking at the weekly media briefing, MEA Spokesperson said: “Yes, this issue is something that we have been pursuing and talked about it earlier. Our embassy in Doha has been regularly raising the issue with the Qatari authorities. That some family members have recently been permitted to visit their relatives in detention. We are separately seeking further consular access and as soon as we have some updates we will continue to share them.”

In answer to questions about the incarceration of eight former Navy officers who were employed in Qatar, Bagchi made this statement. Since August 30, eight former Indian Navy officers have being held captive in Doha.

When asked if he brought up the issue of the detained eight former Indian naval officers while there, the MEA Spokesperson responded, “No,” further adding that “At the invitation of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar visit Qatar to attend the inaugural ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. As you are aware he had interaction with the Indian community. His program is very short and did not permit structured meetings, however, he did briefly meet the leaders during the meeting.”

He strongly stated that because to Dhankhar’s brief stay, he was unable to schedule formal meetings with the authorities.

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“The case of 8 naval officials imprisoned in Doha since August has been pursued but not by the VP during his recent visit to Qatar,” an MEA spokesperson added.

Earlier, retired commander Punendu Tiwari’s sister Dr. Meetu Bhargava, one of the 8 former navy commanders held in Doha, requested assistance from the government to bring her brother home.

She informed ANI, in the first week of November, “I made a tweet on October 25 and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring back my brother who is in illegal detention in Doha, Qatar. My brother is a retired commander navy officer and he went there to provide training to Qatar Navy through his company Dahra Global Consultancy Services”.

“There are a total of eight ex-Indian Navy officers, including my brother lying in illegal detention. They were picked up by the Qatar police during the night on August 30. There were no charges against them. Neither the Qatar government told us nor the Indian government has information about any charges imposed on them,” she added.

Two weeks prior, Tiwari had spoken with his mother. He is quite ill; he is an elderly man with a number of illnesses, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. She said that they have been out of solitary confinement for 70 days.

(With Inputs From ANI)