Union Minister Scindia Calls PM Modi A 'Chief Protector' After Qatar Releases 8 Indian Navy Veterans

Union Minister Scindia Calls PM Modi A 'Chief Protector' After Qatar Releases 8 Indian Navy Veterans

"This is another example of this same spirit of responsibility, not only towards the 140 crore Indians inside the country but also towards the 2.5 crore Indians outside the country who are living their lives in 110 countries," Scindia added.

ANIUpdated: Monday, February 12, 2024, 12:40 PM IST
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Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia | Photo: PTI

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the release of Indian Navy veterans from a Qatar court after months of detention in the Gulf country, saying PM Modi is a chief protector.

In a major diplomatic triumph for India, eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were sentenced to death in Qatar were released on Monday. The capital punishment was commuted to an extended prison term earlier following diplomatic intervention by New Delhi.

Scindia said, "Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he has shown time and again that during his tenure, he is not just the PM but a pradhan sevak (prime servant) and pradhan rakshak (protector). Whether it was during the Ukraine war when Indian students were brought back safely or many such incidents happened in the last 10 years, the responsibility of bringing back each and every Indian safely has been successfully handled by the PM." "This is another example of this same spirit of responsibility, not only towards the 140 crore Indians inside the country but also towards the 2.5 crore Indians outside the country who are living their lives in 110 countries," he added.

Amid desperate pleas by the anxious kin of the Navy veterans to secure their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had assured that it would mobilise all diplomatic channels and arrange legal assistance to bring them back.

The Union government released an official statement welcoming the decision to set the veteran officers free, saying, "The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals." The men--Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh--were imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.

The Qatari Court earlier commuted the death penalty sentences of eight ex-Indian naval officers it had arrested last year in the Dahra Global case, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press statement. The sentence has now been reduced to jail terms.

Describing the judgement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, "We have noted the verdict today of the Court of Appeal of Qatar in the Dahra Global case, in which the sentences have been reduced.

The MEA also said that the detailed judgement in the case is awaited and that it is in close touch with the legal team in Qatar.

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