Border Security Force has seized 7 Pakistani fishing boats in the Harami Nala in the Kutch district of Gujarat on 18th February 2022. GS Malik, the inspector general of the Gujarat Frontier of the BSF has informed that these boats are from the lot of 22 boats found intruding in the group last week.
According to a report by Desh Gujarat, out of 22 Pakistani boats that were found last week, the BSF had already seized 11 boats. Now with these 7 boats, the total count of seized Pakistani fishing boats has gone up to 18. Last week, BSF had caught hold of 6 Pakistani fishermen. It was a joint operation of the BSF, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force. The seven boats captured on 18th February 2022 are all from the lot left behind in the operation carried out in the last week. BSF has recovered some food and rotten fish from the boats.
How ‘Harami Nala’ got its name and the history of dispute between India and Pakistan in the Sir Creek Area
Reportedly, the drain derives its name ‘Harami Nala’ from its geography and stark characteristics that make it easy for smugglers, terrorists and intruders from Pakistan to enter India. The drain provides abundant fish bounty, beckoning fishermen from Pakistan to routinely intrude in the region. The Vian Wari Creek on the Indian side enters Pakistan in the north, turns east and reenters India, where it is called Harami Nala. The drain then subsequently splits into two streams, one of which reenters Pakistan, which poses a strategic challenge for the BSF to guard against infiltration bids from Pakistan.
It is notable that Harami Nala near Bhuj in Kutch of Gujarat is also known as the Sir Creek area. The area is a 22 KM long and approximately 8 KM wide marshy patch which is navigable most of the time in a year. There has been an old dispute between India and Pakistan about who owns this area. However, India’s stand is correct in accordance with all the modern international laws as agreed by the United Nations Organization. On the other hand, Pakistan has been claiming the whole of Sir Creek or Harami Nala for the last 75 years.
The marshy area of Sir Creek or Harami Nala is challenging terrain for any armed force to protect and the Indian Army and the BSF have been guarding this part of the country successfully for the past 75 years. Before independence, the area was governed by the Maharaja Rao Sahib of Kutch, and its borders were shared by the government of Sindh province which is today’s Sindh state in Pakistan.
According to the 1914 agreement called the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914 demarking the borders between the states, Pakistan claims that the whole of the creek belongs to Pakistan. India, however, follows Thalwegs Principle which is applied while fixing the international boundaries in the water bodies. According to this principle, if the water body is navigable then the boundary between the two countries can be considered only in the middle of the water channel. Therefore India maintains that half of the channel belongs to India and Pakistan must not cross the water border.