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Two months on, return of 8th naval veteran from Doha remains uncertain

Seven naval veterans have returned home following the release of the eight on February 12 after being in captivity for over 16 months.

shipNEW DELHI: Nearly two months after Qatar’s Interior Ministry released eight Indian naval veterans, uncertainty shrouds the return of the eighth naval veteran, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, who faces a travel ban.

Seven naval veterans have returned home following the release of the eight on February 12 after being in captivity for over 16 months. “There was optimism that the travel ban imposed on Commander Tiwari would be lifted and he would return home by Eid; however, since holidays have begun, nearly all establishments are closed so any decision would come only after the break gets over,’’ said a source.

There are certain impending formalities for which he needs clearance without which he cannot head back to India, sources said, adding that until Qatar’s Interior Ministry lifts the ban, he won’t be permitted to return. He is living in his own house in Doha.

India hasn’t officially confirmed on when Commander Tiwari would return but the Ministry of External Affairs had said on February 29 that “the eighth Indian national has certain requirements to fulfil; he will return as and when those are completed.”

Commander Tiwari’s 85-year-old mother is among those eagerly waiting for her son’s return. Continuous requests have been made to the authorities for over a month on behalf of his family. The eight naval veterans were employed for a company, Dhara Consultancies, owned by an Omani Emir. The eight were picked up from their homes on August 30, 2022 in Doha by Qatar’s Interior Ministry. Charges framed against them were not made public, however a death penalty was announced for them which was later commuted to jail terms.

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