Vadodara: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue of releasing captured Indian fishing vessels with the Pakistan government.
"I spoke to the PM following arrests of 47 fishermen and seizure of 20 boats from this area (off Gujarat coast) in the last ten days," Modi said.
Saying that he urged the Prime Minister to tell the neighbouring country not to seize Indian boats and kidnap fishermen, Modi alleged that "it is a deliberate act committed by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA)".
Talking to a news agency over phone, Modi said that Pakistan government has stopped releasing seized boats since 2003, and at present there are 476 Indian fishing boats -- all from Gujarat and Union Territories of Diu-Daman and Dadra-Nagar Haveli -- in the custody of PMSA.
The chief minister alleged that he had demanded many times that the issue of release of Indian fishermen from the custody of Pakistani authorities be included in the talks between the two countries, but to no avail.
"The Centre has never taken up the issue seriously," he said.
The total worth of the seized Indian boats and trawlers is estimated at around Rs 350 crore.