Ludhiana: The Centre is in constant touch with the Interpol for securing the safe release of five Indian hostages held captive by the Somali pirates for the last three years, Union Minister Manish Tewari said on Tuesday.
Disclosing this today, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, who has been following the case since 2010, said that he had recently written to the External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid urging him to seek their earlier release.
The hostages include Surjit Singh from Badhowal village in Ludhiana.
Earlier, Tewari had raised the issue in the Parliament besides taking it up with former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna also.
Quoting Khurshid, Tewari said the government of India had set up an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) under the Ministry of Shipping for the early release of the hostages.
The IMG comprises all the relevant ministries like Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, besides specialised agencies to coordinate the efforts.
The last monthly meeting of the IMG was held in May to review the progress, he said.
Hoping for early release of the hostages including Surjit Singh, Tewari said the local embassy in Somalia and other concerned embassies are also closely following the situation.
The seafarers were on board MV Asphalt Venture when they were taken hostage by the Somali pirates in 2010.