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Terrorists ‘hijacked’ Porbandar fishing boat

Ahmedabad, Nov. 28: Until he received an unexpected call from the Mumbai coast guard, Vinod Masani believed his fishing boat Kuber had either developed a technical snag or had been captured by Pakistan Marines.

That is nothing unusual as over 300 Gujarati fishermen are still languishing in Pakistan. However, what made Masani, 35, sit up yesterday was the phone call from terror-struck Mumbai. His boat, rented out to local fishermen, had been hijacked by terrorists to land in Mumbai.

The captain, Amarsinh Narayan Solanki, 30, of Junagadh, had been killed and the other crew members are missing.

The mechanised boat had left Porbandar with a crew of six people on November 13 on its usual fishing mission to Jankhau in Kutch near the Indo-Pak border, very close to Karachi. The boat usually returns within 10 days, but this time it did not.

“Normally, a fisherman is required to inform the coast guard if the boat does not return on time. But he might have taken it easy, considering that there was no cyclone, perhaps assuming that the fishermen were getting a good catch,” said coast guard deputy inspector-general Sudhir Chandra.

Yesterday, Masani was contacted by the Maharashtra coast guard to inquire whether he owned the boat which was found five nautical miles away from the Mumbai shores with a body on board.

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