Secrecy ripped off
THE Qatari Emiri Naval Force is considered the strongest naval force of the region in terms of the size of its naval fleet and is commonly known as QEN.
Recently the Qatari Government has arrested eight so-called ‘retired’ Indian Navy Officers under charges of spying for the interest of Israel and India.
These arrested spies were working in Qatar with a private firm and were providing training and other services to the Qatari Emiri Navy.
The said Indian officers were caught in the month of August 2022 for their involvement in spying, espionage and for planning, supporting and promoting international terrorist activities.
One of these arrested officers was Commander Purnendu Tiwari who had been honoured with the ‘Pravasi Samman Award’ by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind in 2019.
The Pravasi Samman is the Highest honoured award usually bestowed upon the Overseas Indians for their services to the country.
‘Pravasi Samman Award’ winner Purnendu Tiwari played a key role in the whole story of espionage.
The Qatri investigation agencies found him actively involved in transferring data of leading Gulf Muslim countries to Israel and India.
Reports say that while working with Qatar Defence, Security and other Government agencies; the arrested officers had access to classified data and taking benefit of it they started sharing the sensitive information to Qatar’s adversaries; Tiwari was their leader.
Here this fact must also be kept in mind that India and Qatar are enjoying a very cordial relationship at present. It seems that by sending its secret agents to Qatar, India has tried to stab a friend.
The most interesting fact of the whole story is that the government of India remained in a state of denial throughout with reference to the arrest of the eight Indian navy officers; just as it remained silent in case of Kalbushan Yadav, the Indian spy arrested by the security forces of Pakistan on 3rd March, 2016.
Reports say that the arrested ones are not retired officers; they are still in service and the government of India had sent them to Qatar under cover.
The arrest of these eight officers might have remained in dark but the wife of one of these officers shared news of her husband’s arrest in Qatar on social media on 25th October 2022.
The purpose of that sharing was to request the Indian authorities to get the arrested ones released.
Indian spies are usually very unfortunate that they have to face very horrible consequences of serving their country when they come back to their home after completion of the assigned mission.
The usual pathetic condition of the Indian spies sent across the borders by the Indian intelligence agencies was highlighted by Anand Katakam in an article published on 18 April 2017 in the Hindustan Times.
The writer said specifically with reference to the Indian spy Kalbushan arrested in Pakistan, “The Punjab border districts of Gurdaspur and Ferozepur are replete with examples of men who crossed the Indo-Pakistan border for tidbits of intelligence for their handlers.
Most of these men are captured by Pakistani security forces and end up languishing in jail for years because most are disavowed by their government.
Many are impoverished men who are recruited as low-level informants for multiple Indian intelligence agencies including the RAW.”
In 2005, a former Indian spy Kishori Lal also lodged the same complaint of helplessness while talking to the Tribune, “Even if you escape death and are sent back, in your country you die a slow death as nobody is there to own you,” he said.
Shihani and Ibrahim also have the same story to tell as they are also among those countless who serve for the Indian Intelligence Agencies in foreign lands but are left unattended after their arrest.
These two were arrested and convicted by the UAE government on charges of spying for India somewhere in 2014-2015.
The Abu Dhabi court judgment against Ibrahim said that he was proven of handing over confidential defence information of the State to Ajay Kumar and Rudranath Juha, the two intelligence officers of the Indian embassy.
Currently Ibrahim and Shihani are serving a 10-year jail term at Al-Wathba prison. Their families have been raising their voices since after their arrest that they were used by Indian embassy officials to supply sensitive information.
On being arrested, they were denied legal, diplomatic support despite laws mandating assistance from the government of India.
According to an Indian news channel Pro Punjab, an Indian citizen Daniel is one of the worst examples of maltreatment with the spies.
He had been working for the Indian Intelligence Agencies for many years but by end of day he was discarded like a used tissue-paper and thrown into a dustbin.
Daniel claimed that he worked for his country’s spy agency RAW, on lucrative promises of money and a government job, and was smuggled into Pakistan in 1992 to carry out the dirty work.
He was arrested in Pakistan and had to serve there a four-year sentence. On his release from Pakistani jail and after his return to India, he found no one to take care of him.
Life simply became horribly miserable for him. Now to earn some livelihood, he drives a rickshaw while his wife works as a maid washing dishes.
Moreover, like others belonging to the minority strata of the Indian society, he also has to face a lot of humiliation on a daily basis.
Maltreatment with the spies who put their lives in danger for their country is something highly pathetic and at the same time India’s mischievous attempt of creating disturbance in the Muslim countries like the UAE and Pakistan through its secret agents is also something disgusting and loathsome.
—The writer is Principal of a Government College and senior columnist, based in Multan.