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With son stranded in Iran, fisher couple spends a rueful Palm Sunday

Jagajeevan has always been at the forefront of their celebrations -- from the Palm Sunday march to the beach to the sumptuous family meal that followed, said James.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Given a choice, James Netto and Sherly of Puthuval Purayidam in Pozhiyoor, a fishing village in Thiruvananthapuram, would opt to erase this Palm Sunday from their memories. For the first time ever, they had to spent the auspicious day without their eldest son Jagajeevan, who is among the over 1,000 Indians stranded in Iran since February 29.

Jagajeevan has always been at the forefront of their celebrations -- from the Palm Sunday march to the beach to the sumptuous family meal that followed, said James. Now, with the news coming from Iran less than pleasant, a celebration was the last thing on the couple’s mind. So, though the rituals this year were already limited due to the lockdown, they also decided to opt for a rather simple meal.

“My son is not even getting enough food at the camp. He has become very thin,” said an aggrieved Sherly. The parents keep in touch with their son through video calls. The fisher couple still rues the decision to send their son to a foreign country on the words of their neighbour. When he decided to take up the offer to go to Iran on a fishing visa on October 30 last year, Jagajeevan was just 21. The family had pawned Sherly’s gold jewellery to arrange the visa.

Jagajeevan is the youngest among the 17 fishermen from Pozhiyoor stranded in Iran at the moment. As many as 80 fishermen from the state and many more from other states are stuck in the southern provinces of Iran, primarily in the cities of Assalouyeh, Chiruyeh and Kish. The Indian consulate in Bandar Abbas had reached out to the fishermen and offered them food items for survival. However, the fishermen complain that their Iranian employers were turning hostile.

“They first cut the water supply and now they want the fishermen to shift to boats. But it is going to be difficult in the hot weather,” said James. He added that they were also forced to go out for fishing on April 1, only for the employer to take away the catch they brought back. “The food given by the consulate is also running out fast. So, the group is only eating a minimal amount of food each day. I request the government to intervene and ensure better living conditions for them, until they are airlifted after the lockdown,” appealed James. The government has so far airlifted 389 Indians from Iran.

80 fishers from state stuck abroad
As many as 80 fishermen from the state and many more from other states are stuck in the southern provinces of Iran, primarily in the cities of Assalouyeh, Chiruyeh and Kish. The Indian consulate in Bandar Abbas had reached out to the fishermen and offered them food items for survival.


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