Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not intervening in the case of eight Navy veterans who reportedly face death sentence in Qatar.
The retired Navy officers were arrested in Doha by Qatari authorities in August. They have been held in solitary confinement since then without a reason being specified. Their bail pleas have been rejected eight times.
On Wednesday, Kharge wrote in a tweet: “MEA [Ministry of External Affairs] says that ‘the charges have not been shared so far’, with India. Modi government’s meek surrender has exposed their tall claims of making India a ‘vishwaguru’ [world leader]!”
The retired officers – Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purenendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh – were working for a private company that reportedly provides training to the Qatari Navy.
On Tuesday, a report in The Tribune said that the Navy veterans have been charged with spying for Israel and could be sentenced to death. In November, unidentified intelligence officials in New Delhi had had rejected speculations that the officers were spying for Israel.
The Ministry of External Affairs has said that India has been engaged with the authorities in Qatar over the case.
“The next day of the hearing is in early May,” foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, according to The Tribune. “We are trying to see what can be done before that in connection with that hearing.”
On Wednesday, Kharge pointed out in his tweet that New Delhi and Doha have completed 50 years of their diplomatic ties this year and that Indians are Qatar’s largest expatriate community.
“Narendra Modi calls Qatari counterpart to extend wishes on FIFA World Cup, but cannot intervene to save the precious lives of our brave hearts!” Kharge claimed. “Nationalism?”