Afghanistan

Kolkata Kidnapped aid worker back home safe from Afghanistan after 44 days of captivity

July 24, 2016 11:04 PM
Judith D’Souza aids worker


Kidnapped aid worker back home safe from Afghanistan Sushma Swaraj tweets end of 43-day ordeal of Judith D’Souza

New Delhi: Judith D’Souza, the Indian aid worker who was kidnapped in Kabul last month, was rescued from her captors on Friday. She reached New Delhi on Saturday evening.

Ms D’Souza, who was kidnapped on June 9, was accompanied by Indian Ambassador in Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra, as she arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at around 6 p.m. She later called on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who oversaw the rescue efforts. Ms D'Souza, who refrained from speaking to the media, was received by her brother Jerome D'Souza at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday lauded the efforts of India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra in ensuring the release of abducted Indian aid worker Judith D’Souza’s release, and also thanked the Afghan government for ensuring her safe release. Ms. D’Souza was released by her captors on Friday and flew to New Delhi accompanied by Mr Vohra on Saturday evening.

Apart from senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, a number of politicians and BJP workers also reached the airport to welcome her.

The rescue

The news of Ms D’Souza’s release came early on Saturday when Ms Swaraj announced it on Twitter.

“I am happy to inform you that Judith D’Souza has been rescued,” the Minister tweeted about the end of the 43-day ordeal of the 36-year-old senior technical adviser with the Aga Khan Foundation. She was kidnapped in the heart of Kabul late on June 9.

Sushma thanks Afghan govt., Indian envoy

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday lauded the efforts of India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra in ensuring the release of abducted Indian aid worker Judith D’Souza’s release, and also thanked the Afghan government for ensuring her safe release. Ms. D’Souza was released by her captors on Friday and flew to New Delhi accompanied by Mr Vohra on Saturday evening.

The Centre had deployed all its resources to secure her release, with Ms. Swaraj leading the efforts. During a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the annual summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Tashkent last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested the latter’s intervention in securing Ms D’Souza release. After speaking to Ms D’Souza, the Minister claimed that she was “safe and in good spirits.”

Specifics of her release were not known yet. From the very early stages of the abduction, however, sources mentioned a ransom demand to The Hindu, and said they could hope for a resolution only after the holy month of Ramzan.

Ever since news of Ms D’Souza’s kidnapping emerged, her family and many NGO activists have been appealing to the government to secure her release. Her family wrote to Mr. Modi, urging his intervention. The family said “brave, thoughtful, generous and compassionate” Judith had been working in Afghanistan for the well-being of the Afghans.

Judith was due to return to India in a week when she was abducted. According to the police’s account, she was visiting a friend and was in her car with a driver and security guard, when they were overtaken by gunmen and forced into another car at gunpoint.

The gunmen let off the two men as they were Afghans, asking Ms. D Souza if she was a “foreigner”, said police. The manner of her abduction made the police suspicious, however, and they kept both the driver and guard in custody. While officials wouldn’t reveal any details during the investigation, sources confirmed that interrogating the two men had given them significant leads that indicated the motive for her kidnapping was ransom, and that she hadn’t, as feared by many, been targeted by the Taliban.

Ms.a D’Souza was believed to be held by a gang in the Shomali Plains, close to the village of the two men in custody. Firs published in The Hindu

Have something to say? Post your comment