Edappadi Palaniswami
In picture: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami.Twitter

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Indian embassy in Iran to take steps to repatriate 21 Indian fishermen stranded there.

Palaniswami's letter to Modi, which has been released to the media, said that 21 fishermen of Indian origin were left stranded in Iran since their employers have withheld their passports.

"I request you to direct the Embassy of India in Iran to take all measures to ensure the immediate repatriation of these poor innocent Indian fishermen. Necessary steps may also be taken to ensure that the fishermen receive their just and due wages," he said.

As per Palaniswami's letter, the fishermen from Tamil Nadu were employed by Mohammed Shallah and his brothers for more than six months. He said that the Iranian employers have not paid the fishermen their share, as per their terms of employment. As a result, the fishermen were struggling to make their ends meet, so much so that they have been unable to send money back to their families in India.

"Having lost the hope of receiving a fair remuneration, the fishermen requested the employers to facilitate their return to India which was summarily refused by them," Palaniswami said.

"It is reported that the passports of the fishermen are in the custody of the local employers who are neither allowing them to continue work nor allowing them to return back to India. In addition, the employer chased the fishermen out of their accommodation and abandoned them in the streets without any shelter, food and security," Palaniswami added.

[With inputs from IANS]