• Tuesday, November 28, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

Qatar death sentence to 8 Indians: Opposition says Modi government didn’t take matter seriously earlier

Asaduddin Owaisi, a prominent Muslim MP of India, said the PM had boasted about how much “Islamic countries” love him and that he must bring the ex-naval officers back.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE recent verdict given by a court in Qatar awarding a death sentence to eight former personnel of the Indian Navy has triggered a political row with the opposition accusing the Narendra Modi government of not taking the matter seriously when their members raised it in the parliament a few months ago.

Asaduddin Owaisi, an MP from All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) from Hyderabad in the southern state of Telangana, said prime minister Modi must bring back the officers back as he “boasted” how much the Islamic nations loved him.

In a post on X after the verdict came out last week, the firebrand leader said, “In August, I had raised the issue of our ex-naval officers stuck in #Qatar. Today they have been sentenced to death. @narendramodi has boasted about how much “Islamic countries” love him. He must bring our ex-naval officers back. It’s very unfortunate that they face the death row.”

Manish Tewari, a former minister and member of the opposition Indian National Congress, alleged that the government never took requests of the family members, Ex-Servicemen League or even the MPs seriously.

“This is not a matter where we need to indulge in ‘he said, she said’ or score brownie points. The lives of 08 very senior naval personnel are at stake,” Tewari wrote on X.

“Their families were never informed what the charges against them were. Even the Lawyer engaged for their defence was I am informed evasive with the families,” he added.

In a statement on the verdict, the Congress said, “The Indian National Congress has noted with the greatest anguish, distress and shock the most disturbing developments in Qatar regarding 8 former officers of the Indian Navy. It hopes and expects that the Govt of India will use its diplomatic and political leverage with the Qatar government to the maximum to ensure that the officers have full recourse to appeals and also do the utmost to get them released at the earliest.”

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Monday (30) met the families of the Indian officials who have been given the death sentence and said the Modi government attached highest importance to the case and that he fully shared the families’ pain.

Tewari, who in a tweet on Saturday (28) said Jaishnkar’s silence on the matter was “deafening”, said in another post on Monday that he hoped the external affairs minister did something concrete for the detained navy veterans who, according to a report by an Indian publication, was tortured in captivity to make confessions.

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