Lawyer moves SC for release of Indians in captivity of pirates

A Delhi lawyer has moved the Supreme Court to direct the Centre for taking urgent steps for ensuring release of Indian sailors held captive by Somalian pirates since 2010 and for framing "effective" anti-piracy guidelines.

The PIL, asking for court's intervention in the view of the exigency of the situation and to help the families of these captive Indian citizens, has claimed that the existing system to respond to the piracy incidents was totally "unsatisfactory, unethical and unconstitutional".

Besides, being in total infringement of the principles laid down in Article 21 of the Constitution, the system showed "lack of criteria" in dealing with such emergent situations, the petition filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal said. The petition has cited several instances including the one in which 6 Indian seamen have been held hostage since March, 2010.

A band of pirates took hostage of 22 crew members on March 2 this year after capturing a chemical tanker 'Royal Grace' and taking it towards the coast of Somalia. Out of 22 crew members, 17 are Indian citizens and no hostage has so far been released.

Again in March 29, another group hijacked a cargo ship in the international waters of East Africa and took hostage of 24 crew members, which included six Indians, and sailed the ship to the Somali Coast and demanded huge money for their release.

None of the hostage has been set free out of 11 Indians, who were in international waters in Arabian Sea, captured by them, the petition said.

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