Families of the Indian teachers held in captivity in Libya have some glimmer of hope after the government confirmed the release of two of their colleagues allegedly abducted by the Islamic State terror group.
"We are yet to receive word about his rescue and are unsure about his condition. But we have a lot of hope," T Murali Krishna, brother of T Gopikrishna, told Times of India.
Four Indians abducted in Libya - I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 31, 2015
The four men -- T Gopikrishna, Balaram Kishan, Vijay Kumar and Lakshmikant -- who have been in Libya for more than a year and were working at Sirte University, were detained at a checkpoint about 50 km outside Sirte late on Wednesday while on their way back to India, Reuters quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup as saying.
"He had informed us that he would return home via Tripoli and Tunisia. He was supposed to fly out of Tunisia to Dubai and take a flight from there to Hy derabad. It was on Thursday that we learnt of this incident. Prior to that we had been maintaining contact with him via WhatsApp," Kalyani, Gopikrishna's distraught wife told TOI.
Many Indian nurses we evacuated from Yemen are going back. That is a cause for worry. Situation not normal and we do not hv Embassy there.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 31, 2015
It's a tense wait also for the family of Balaram Kishan. "On Thursday morning when I tried to reach him on phone, I failed.I tried to reach him again in the evening but he did not answer. I then realised that something was wrong. His abduction was later confirmed by the university authorities," his wife Sridevi was quoted as saying by TOI.
Meanwhile, families of the two teachers from Karnataka -- Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar -- are joyous on their release from alleged captivity of ISIS and thanked the government for its efforts in freeing them.
"Prime Minister, Sushma Swaraj had got involved and put their efforts in getting back our son, we are very thankful to them. We are very happy," Lakshmikant's Uncle Anand Rao told PTI.
"Our family from Raichur thanks the government, we are grateful to all those who have put in their efforts. Some time back Lakshmikant had spoken to his wife very briefly stating that he is released and coming back...." he added.
Also expressing his joy, Lakshmikant's brother Pavan Kumar said "...I would like to thank Sushma Swaraj madam Minister of External Affairs for help; I would also like to thank media for the co-operation....Our family is over joyed."
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier tweeted about the release Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar.
"Four Indians abducted in Libya - I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two," she had said.
"We are very happy hearing the news that our son is released and he is safe. Our thanks to every one who had efforts in bring back our son, we are grateful to them," Vijay Kumar's father Srinivasalu said in Kolar, from where the family hails.
"I have not received any call till now, but have got the news about his release through TV channels," he added. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has expressed happiness over the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar.
Disturbed by the abduction of two Kannadiga's, the Chief Minister had directed Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee to take all necessary action immediately, government said in a release.
Stating that Chief Secretary who was in touch with the External Affairs Ministry and Home Ministry was giving information to the Chief Minister time to time, the release said he has expressed relief on their release.
It also said that the Chief Minister has spoken to Ramakrishna, father of Lakshmikant over phone and has shared happiness about the release.
Various militias and Islamist factions have been battling for control in Libya since autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.
Separately, in Iraq, a group of 39 Indian construction workers have been held captive by Islamic State in Mosul for more than a year, despite attempts by the Indian government to secure their release. (With inputs from agencies)