The families of two Indians, who were freed from the captivity of the Islamic State in Libya after nearly 14 months, said on Thursday they were relieved and celebrated the news of their release by offering prayers at a temple.
T Gopi Krishna and C Balaram Kishan were abducted by Islamic State terrorists at a check post near Sirte, an area which is said to be their stronghold, in July last year along with two other Indians. They were working as assistant professors at the University of Sirte since 2007.
Lakshmikanth from Raichur in Karnataka and Bengaluru resident Vijay Kumar were released after two days in captivity.
I am happy to inform that T Gopalakrishna (AP) & C BalaramKishan (Telangana) who were captive in Libya since 29 July 2015 have been rescued.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) September 15, 2016
Gopi Krishna called his family in Tekkali in Srikakulam district late on Wednesday to tell them about his release and said he would come back home as soon as possible.
“It was just a half-a-minute call from Gopi. He spoke to his wife Kalyani, father Narayana Rao and me to inform that he had been released and he would be coming to India shortly,” Gopi Krishna’s brother Murali Krishna told HT.
“He said he was at present under the protection of military forces. Today, he would be handed over to the Indian embassy which would make arrangements for his travel to India at the earliest,” Murali Krishna said.
His wife Kalyani and their two children Jhanvi, 11, and Eshwar, 5, went to a temple to perform special prayers after they received the news of his release.
Gopi Krishna, however, did not say anything about how and where he had been in the captivity of the terrorists. “He said he would reveal all the details once he returns,” his brother said.
Balram’s wife Sridevi, a part-time teacher at a private college in Hyderabad, said she could not believe she was talking to him when he called her on Thursday morning.
“It was just for half a minute. All that he told me was that he was safe and healthy and he enquired about our welfare. He told me that he would be brought to India as early as possible, after the completion of formalities,” she said.
The couple has two sons - 20-year-old Vijaybhaskar, a third-year student at IIT Kharagpur, and 13-year-old Madhusudhan who is in Class 8.
“My elder son will be coming to Hyderabad after September 20, after completing his semester exams to see his father. All the trauma we underwent for the last one year is now gone and we are now eagerly awaiting my husband’s arrival,” she said.
The ministry of external affairs was in regular touch with the families and all efforts were being made to ensure the well-being and early release of the Indian nationals, the government said in July.
There are 2,000 Indians in conflict-hit Libya, who have stayed back despite many advisories urging them to leave the country.