NEW DELHI: The Qatar government, which shares a cordial relationship with India and is counted among India’s closest allies in the Gulf, is taking a considerate view of the case of eight Indian nationals who have been in custody since 30 August.
The Sunday Guardian has learnt that “issues” and “misunderstandings” that led to the detention of these eight Indians, all Indian Navy veterans, have either been addressed or are in the process of being resolved. The eight Indians, who were taken into custody last year, are associated with Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, which works closely with Qatar’s military.
Sources following the matter while speaking to The Sunday Guardian said that it was not possible to give a timeline regarding when the eight Indians would be released as the entire matter was before the local judiciary. According to them, the Qatar government had indicated that it wanted to resolve this issue—which has the potential of being used as a fault line by domestic and international actors to drive a wedge between the two friendly countries—by following its local due process of law. A sustained disinformation campaign was launched on social media, after the news of the eight Indian nationals being taken into custody emerged, attributing unsubstantiated and fictitious reasons for their detention which has been traced to state backed actors that operate in India’s neighbourhood.
While the exact reason/reasons that led to the arrest of the Indian nationals has not been made public by either the Qatari or the Indian government, sources said that the “issues” which likely rose due to “communication misunderstandings” are being addressed by both sides.
The Indian government has done a couple of administrative changes at its embassy in Doha following this entire incident including replacing the defence attaché who were posted there earlier. The present ambassador, too, has been given a new assignment in India which he will take up shortly.
The family members of the Indian nationals told The Sunday Guardian that all the eight were healthy, but were under mental stress for the long time they have not been able to meet their family members.
“Some of them who suffer from health issues, have been provided with the prescribed medicines by the Qatar government for which we are very thankful to them. They are also allowed to speak to their family members. However, it has been almost six months since they were detained. Being away from their family members for so long has taken a toll on their mental and psychological health. Back home, we are also under a lot of stress as after all a detention is a detention. We just want the Qatar government to send our family members back,” a family member of one of the detainees told The Sunday Guardian.