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Family members of Seafarers detained for protesting outside CM residence

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Panaji: The family members of Goans, who are stranded on various ships abroad amidst COVID-19 scare, were detained by Panaji police on Wednesday morning after they began their hunger strike outside Chief Minister’s official residence here.

Panaji police detained around five women family members who were on hunger strike demanding immediate action on the part of government to bring back them, who are currently stranded on different ships across the globe.

The family members had met Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday morning but had refused to withdraw their hunger strike, claiming that they were not convinced with his assurances.

Gina Pereira, a young woman from Varca village of South Goa, whose husband is working on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony ship, which has reported death of one of its crew member due to COVID-19 infection, was amongst those arrested for staging hunger strike outside CM’s residence.

Talking to reporters before being detained, Pereira said that they decided to go for hunger strike to grab the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

She said that she met Sawant on Wednesday when she began the hunger strike. “But I am not happy with the meeting with him. CM has said that the issue is with the centre,” Pereira said.

“If PM will decide on the issue, then we have no other option to sit for hunger strike and get his attention,” she added.

As per government estimate there are around 7,000 to 10,000 Goans who are stranded on various ships.

All Goa Seafarers’ Association Founder President Dixon Vaz said that the family members of Goans who are working on different ships are feeling anxious looking at the situation across the globe.

“They were forced to sit for hunger strike as all our efforts to convince the government to act swiftly has failed,” he added.

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