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The hostage sailors' plight triggers BJP walkout in LS.

SUSHMA Swaraj on Wednesday cornered the government in the Lok Sabha on the issue of the 79 Indian sailors in the captivity of Somali pirates, as the deadline for the release of eight of them ended.

Swaraj raised the matter during the zero hour, taking the government by surprise as external affairs minister S. M. Krishna had left the House after the question hour.

Expressing concern over the plight of the sailors and their families, Swaraj said: " When one US national is kidnapped, the US moves heaven and earth to secure his release... But the Indian government is not taking the issue of Indian sailors being taken hostage seriously. A small country like Somalia has shown that nobody is taking us seriously." As she demanded an immediate response from the external affairs minister, Swaraj had an argument with parliamentary affairs minister P. K. Bansal.

However, Bansal was forced to send a message asking Krishna to come back. The minister soon returned and made a brief statement, assuring the House that the government was doing everything possible for the sailors' release.

" Their safe and early release is our highest priority... We are doing all that we can. We are in touch with the ship owners," he said. Krishna said there was a transitional government in Somalia. " We have taken up the issue with the president of that government and he has assured us all help," he added.

Not satisfied with the response, Swaraj led a walkout of the BJP, Shiv Sena and Akali Dal members.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Mar 10, 2011
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