ROHTAK: Six Indian sailors are set to return home after spending nearly ten months in the captivity of Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden after Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney secured their release by paying the ransom demanded.
Among the 22 hostages who had been freed by the pirates are four Pakistanis, one Sri Lankan and 11 Egyptians besides the two Indians from Haryana and one each from Himachal, J&K, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu.
The families of four sailors- Ravinder Gulia of Rohtak, Satnam Singh of Ambala, Prashant Chauhan of Shimla and MK Sharma from J&K had raised the issue up till the Prime Minister and had urged the Indian government but got nothing but assurances.
Sampa, wife of Ravinder Gula, said, "It's a bond of humanity cutting across boundaries that has saved the lives of our dear ones. I am all thanks to the Pakistan national Burney and even the Pakistan government which helped in the efforts to get the hostages released".
"I have just talked to my husband who informed me that he is likely to reach home in next 9-10 days. He says that all the sailors are in good health and have gotten out of the danger zone in the sea", Sampa said.
Samoa has been running from pillar to post and even had a heated exchange with some politicians during her efforts to get the government to help in securing her husband's release.
"My ten month agony has finally come to an end thanks to Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney's efforts. Even the Pakistan government has played a positive role in the process of getting the hostages freed as the sovernor of Sind state Ishratul Ebad raised funds to pay the ransom amount to the pirates. But the Indian government and politicians let us down", said Sampa.
"I have taken a personal vow to never cast my vote as these politicians have little concern for the miseries and grievances of the common people," she added.
She said that she had talked to several senior ministers who had flatly refused to extend help stating that they could not pay ransom as it was illegal.
"Is securing the human lives illegal? They refused to talk to the pirates to get Indian citizens freed. Had there been the relative of any politician or VIP among the hostages, the Indian government would have come to its knees to ensure his/her release and there have been such instances in the past. But the lives of the common man does not move them" she said.
According to reports, the Egyptian shipping company was to contribute $1 million, while Pakistan and India were to raise $500,000 and $600,000respectively. However, as the deadline loomed, Indian did not fulfill its end of the bargain.
Somali pirates had hijacked the Egyptian cargo ship MV Suez in the Gulf of Aden on August 2, 2010.