An Indian doctor recently freed from the clutches of the Islamic State has said that the dreaded terror group is “very much interested” in India, and wants to spread its ideology in the country.
Dr K Ramamurthy, who was captured by the Islamic State in Libya two years ago, told ANI in an exclusive interview that his captors were aware of India as well as its recent progress in the fields of education and economic growth. “These ISIS people are well-educated youngsters who know about India and its development… They are interested in India. They want to spread their ideology to other parts of the world, including India,” he said.
The doctor said that though he was abused verbally by his captors, they refrained from doing him physical harm. “They forced us to watch videos of what they did in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and other places. The videos were a bit difficult to watch,” Dr Ramamurthy said.
The doctor said he was asked to conduct surgeries in Islamic State hospitals. “But I told them that as I was a 61-year-old man suffering from backache and nerve pain in my right leg, it was difficult to stand for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. I also informed them that I had no training in surgery. So they pulled me out of Mahakama jail and put in another. I saw all kinds of attacks there,” Dr Ramamurthy said.
He claimed Islamic State cadre were a dedicated lot who strictly followed every rule prescribed for them. “Most of them are youngsters. I saw suicide bombers as young as 10 years old. There were members above the age of 65 too,” he said.
The doctor went on to thank the Centre, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, for getting him released. “I am so thankful to our Prime Minister, his team, and other officials from the Indian Embassy. I’ll never ever forget them. They helped me get to the embassy. These people worked so hard to pull me out of there,” he added.
The doctor from Andhra Pradesh had been employed in Libya for the last 18 years. After embassy officials caught wind of his detention, he was whisked out of Libya to Istanbul on February 14 and later flown to India.