Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday urged the Center to direct diplomatic missions in the UAE and other Middle Eastern nations to try and secure the release of Indians languishing in their jails.
The move comes days after Sharjah's ruler Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi announced -- on the request of chief minister Pinarayi -- of a general amnesty under which a total of 149 Indians serving prison terms for minor and financial offenses in Sharjah will be released.
In a letter to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj -- a copy of which was released to the media here -- the chief minister pointed out that the state government and the Ministry of External affairs had been receiving several representations from Indian citizens sentenced to jail in civil offenses, especially in the Middle East countries, which have stringent legal framework.
"It is requested that MEA may seriously consider taking this step and direct the diplomatic missions in UAE and other Middle East countries to pursue this request," Pinarayi said in the letter.
Pinarayi mentioned that he requested Sharjah ruler Al- Quasimi, during his recent visit to the state, to consider the release of prisoners as a humanitarian gesture.
This request had been immediately agreed to by the sheikh and 149 prisoners had been ordered to be released, he said.
"It is suggested that citing this gesture, if the Indian government takes up this issue with other Emirates in UAE, we may be able to secure the release of a large number of similarly placed Indians," the chief minister said.