In a major comeback, seven of the eight Bharatiya Citizens, who returned to Bharat on the morning of Monday, had no hint of their release, as per the reports of NDTV.
‘Qatar has released the eight Bharatiya citizens after dropping their death sentences’ as per the Ministry of external affairs. Their death sentences were dropped in December 2023.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who supervised personally all developments in the case, will visit Qatar on February 14, 2024, and hold talks with its ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’, informed Foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra.
‘The veterans were asked by jailors last night to pack their belongings and wait at about 9am (local time) on Sunday’, as per the NDTV repots. Subsequently, they were then whisked away to the Embassy and taken to the airport.
They boarded an IndiGo flight that landed in New Delhi at 2am. The Bharatiya citizens who were released by the Qatar court on Monday, are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Saurabh Vasisht, Purnendu Tiwari, Birendra Kumar Verma, Sugunakar Pakala , Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh.
Bharat engaged in talks for months with Qatar after the Bharatiya citizens were arrested in August 2022 and the case challenged ties with Doha, a natural gas supplier to Bharat, which is one of the world’s top energy importers.
The veterans, employed by a private company, were supporting various programmes and activities for the Qatari Navy, a person with knowledge of the case told Reuters.
The news of the release comes days after Qatari and Bharatiya companies signed their biggest single deal for supplies of liquefied natural gas and after PM Modi met Sheikh Tamim on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai in December 2023 and discussed the “well-being of the Bharatiya community in Qatar”.
Notably, more than 8 lakh Bharatiya citizens live and work in Qatar.
People familiar with the matter said Purnendu Tiwari stayed back in Doha and is likely to come back to Bharat soon.
‘I kept patient during this stressful time and would have been happier had he also returned to the country, and added that he would come back soon’, said Dr Meetu Bhargava, the sister of Tiwari.
‘Bharat appreciates the decision by the Emir of Qatar to enable the release and homecoming of the Bharatiyas’, the ministry of external affairs in a statement on Monday.