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Happy to be alive, survived prison only because of defence training, says Navy veteran released from Qatar

One of many freed Navy veterans waves after touchdown at Delhi Airport. After a horrific ordeal of 18 months, the eight retired Navy personnel have been launched by Qatar. ANI

Jail and confinement is one thing horrible, mentioned Ragesh Gopakumar, one of many 8 ex-Indian Navy personnel launched by the Qatar authorities, including he and his colleagues survived solely due to the coaching they underwent as Defence forces.

He expressed pleasure and gratitude over returning house and being reunited along with his household after spending months in captivity within the tiny gulf nation, he additionally thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian authorities for his or her launch.”We’re simply glad to be alive… glad to be house,” a relieved Gopakumar informed PTI.

He together with seven different former Navy personnel returned on Monday, practically three-and-a-half months after a Qatari courtroom handed them a loss of life sentence that was subsequently commuted to various jail phrases.

Gopakumar, who served as a Petty Officer within the Navy, mentioned he had retired in 2017 and later joined the Oman Defence coaching firm as a communications teacher. He resides in Balaramapuram, a suburb positioned over 16 km away from Kerala’s capital metropolis.

At any time when somebody enquired what the plight of his household had been when he was in jail, he would ask them to think about a scenario the place a husband who used to talk to his spouse at the least 5 occasions a day instantly stopped calling her.

The previous Navy veteran attributed his launch to his household’s prayers and the efforts of the Union authorities. Lavishing praises on Prime Minister Modi, he mentioned it was solely due to his private intervention that their launch was made potential.

Gopakumar mentioned all of them have been hopeful that they’d step out of the jail “if Modiji intervened” however had no concept how lengthy it might take. He additionally expressed gratitude to the central authorities for having made preparations to carry the households of the jailed ex-Naval officers to Qatar.”If an Indian is in hassle overseas and is harmless… if our PM is satisfied about it, he’ll come to their rescue even when it is only one particular person… each Indian ought to know this,” he mentioned.

The eight Indian Navy personnel confronted expenses of espionage however neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi had made the allegations levelled towards them public. On October 26, they have been sentenced to loss of life by Qatar’s Court docket of First Occasion.

On December 28, the Court docket of Attraction within the Gulf nation commuted the capital punishment and sentenced them to jail phrases for durations starting from three years to 25 years. The Court docket of Attraction had given 60 days to enchantment towards the jail phrases. In December final yr, PM Modi met Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 Summit in Dubai and mentioned the well-being of Indians there.

It’s learnt that Nationwide Safety Adviser Ajit Doval performed a job within the negotiations with the Qatari authorities in securing the discharge of the Indians.

With inputs from PTI.

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