In a dramatic story broken by The Business Standard, it has emerged that the Indian Government had instructed the Coast Guard to intercept a yacht carrying runaway Dubai Princess, 33-year-old Sheikh Latifa, on March 4th.
It had been reported earlier this year that the princess had gone missing off the coast of Goa. A video then surfaced of the princess saying she had fled from the UAE after being physically tortured for pushing for personal freedoms for her and her sister.
The Indian Government decided that it was in India’s counter-terrorism and strategic interests to carry out the operation. An eyewitness said, “15 men came onboard fully masked in black clothing, with machine guns and laser sights. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.”
Another report by Lawyers Collective states that Latifa kept screaming that she was seeking political asylum, and apparently said “I won’t go back to the UAE, just kill me now.”
The legality of the operation, strictly speaking, is dubious. According to the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and other Maritime Zones Act of 1976, “foreign vessels are guaranteed the right of peaceful passage within India’s territorial waters.” Furthermore, Article 21 of the Constitution states that if India knowingly sends a person back to a place where they have been tortured, it would constitute a breach of human rights.