After Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, issued an order pardoning a number of prisoners four days ahead of Qatar’s National Day on December 18, India is awaiting formal confirmation on whether the eight Indian naval veterans are part of the list. The wives of the eight veterans are in Doha at present, hoping to hear the news in person and bring back their husbands.
“Of late, there has been some optimism amongst the family members of the eight naval veterans. The last meeting they had with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on December 10th renewed their expectation of an early repatriation. If you look back in the recent past, things have improved for them. They have been allowed fourth-consular access; they are allowed to use the gym and outdoor sports like tennis and badminton. It’s a matter of time before they head back home. Possibly with their wives who are in Doha at present,” said a source, adding that there seems to be quiet jubilation amongst family members as hope builds up.
If one goes by the legal process, the next date for hearing has been fixed for December 28.
Jaishankar also extended wishes to the Emir of Qatar on Monday for their National Day.
“We convey our National Day greetings to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, and the government and people of Qatar,” Dr Jaishankar said.
It may be recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met with the Emir of Qatar in Dubai on the sidelines of COP 28 on December 2 where PM Modi said that he had a good conversation on the potential of the bilateral partnership and the well being of the Indian community in Qatar. Since then, there has been renewed optimism about the repatriation of these veterans.
The eight naval veterans, who have been jailed since August 30th, 2022, are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh.