The Indian authorities are seeking consular access from the Qatari government to eight former naval officers who were detained in Doha, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
“Yes, this issue is something that we have been pursuing and talked about it earlier. Our embassy in Doha has been regularly raising the issue with the Qatari authorities.
That some family members have recently been permitted to visit their relatives in detention. We are separately seeking further consular access and as soon as we have some updates we will continue to share them,” a Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said at the weekly media briefing.
Mr Bagchi said this in response to queries on detention reports of eight former Indian Navy officers working in Qatar. Eight former Indian Navy officers have been detained in Doha since August 30.
Responding to a question about whether Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar raised the issue of detained 8 former Indian naval officers during his visit, MEA Spokesperson said “no” further adding, “At the invitation of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar visit Qatar to attend the inaugural ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. As you are aware he had interaction with the Indian community. His program is very short and did not permit structured meetings, however, he did briefly meet the leaders during the meeting.”
He firmly clarified that because the visit of Vice President Dhankhar was short, he couldn’t have structured meetings with the authorities. “The case of 8 naval officials imprisoned in Doha since August has been pursued but not by the VP during his recent visit to Qatar,” an MEA spokesperson added.
Earlier, among 8 former naval officers detained in Doha, retired commander Punendu Tiwari’s sister Dr Meetu Bhargava who lives in Gwalior has sought help from the government to bring her brother back.
She told ANI, in the first week of November, “I made a tweet on October 25 and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring back my brother who is in illegal detention in Doha, Qatar. My brother is a retired commander navy officer and he went there to provide training to Qatar Navy through his company Dahra Global Consultancy Services”.
“There are a total of eight ex-Indian Navy officers, including my brother lying in illegal detention. They were picked up by the Qatar police during the night on August 30. There were no charges against them. Neither the Qatar government told us nor the Indian government has information about any charges imposed on them,” she added.
Mr Tiwari had talked to his mother two weeks ago. He is not healthy at all, he is a senior citizen and suffering from several diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. It’s been 70 days since they were in solitary confinement, she added.