THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ending months of agony the fisher family of James Netto and Sherly is rejoicing at the return of son Jagajeevan who had been stranded in Iran for more than three months. Jagajeevan’s siblings — Jayesh, Dhanya and Jerin — gathered around their parents at Puthuval Purayidom in Pozhiyoor fishing village as they tracked the evacuation flight from Iran.  Jagajeevan is just one of the 17 fishermen from the village who had gone on a fishing visa to Iran in search of good fortune.

The special evacuation flight carrying the fishermen reached New Delhi on Wednesday morning. There were 197 Indian nationals, including 40 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and 18 from Pozhiyoor, on board. “The IndiGo flight carrying the fishermen from Kerala is scheduled to land in Kochi late on Wednesday from where they will be taken to Thiruvananthapuram by bus,” said Pozhiyoor Johnson, former panchayat president,  Kulathoor grama panchayat. The fishermen are expected to be quarantined at the Mar Ivanios centre.

Though it had been months since the Netto family saw Jagajeevan, they are ready to wait till he completes quarantine. “We are relieved that he has returned,” said Sherly who pawned her jewellery to arrange for his visa in October last. The family nearly lost hope of evacuation when the fishermen couldn’t make it during the previous evacuations. They had almost boarded INS Jalashwa when it reached Bandar Abbas port as part of Operation Samudra Setu on June 24. “They had to deboard the ship due to some miscommunication. It was  heartbreaking for the family,” said James Netto, who thanked Shashi Tharoor, MP for intervening in the matter.

The fishermen, including Jagajeevan, had reached Iran on a fishing visa on October 30. 2019. Though they planned to return, the ports in Iran were closed down as early as in February due to Covid-19. The fishermen hailing from Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were stranded in the southern provinces of the Islamic Republic, including in cities of Asaalouyeh, Chiruyeh and Kish.

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