Biju Kolaraveetil could not have imagined that he would end up in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf, the dreaded Islamic militant group of Philippines— his wife’s home country.
It’s been 45 days since his abduction and there seems to be no end to his misery as the militant group has demanded ransom for his release, and has threatened to behead him if the money is not paid soon.
Hailing from Kerala, Biju, 36, has been working in Kuwait for the past 9 years, where he met his wife Elena. In June, he had gone to Philippines with Elena and his two sons, Arujun and Ajay to meet his in-laws.
On June 22, his outing to Barangay, Tempok in Patuk Muncipality of Sulu province proved fatal. Since then Bjiu's home in Moodady, Kozhikode has been receiving ransom calls.
Mullapaly Ramachandran, the minister of state for home affairs and local MP has already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Indian embassy in Manila to take up the issue.
Government sources said it was getting tough to negotiate with the militant group as they were being "very inflexible". "But we have been trying our best to secure his release. The mission is in touch with local authorities," said an official at the MEA.
"The embassy officials have told us, they are doing everything to get him released. We are keeping our fingers crossed," Shybu Kolaraveetil, Biju's brother told HT. According officials, kidnappers have demanded 20 million peso (around R22 lakh) and more. The group wants the money coming from India, and not arranged locally, an Indian official familiar with the development said, on the condition of anonymity.
Abu Sayyaf is guerrilla organization, pursuing a more fundamentalist battle against the Philippine authorities. This is perhaps the first time an Indian has been abducted by the militant group.