Local Goa News

Friday, June 10, 2016

Indian woman Judith D'Souza abducted in Kabul: Sobbing dad says I want my daughter back

Late on Thursday, a 40-year-old Indian woman, hailing from Kolkata, was abducted in Afghanistan's Kabul, reports said. According to a report by CNN-News 18, the woman was identified as Judith D'Souza and the report added that she was working as a senior technical advisor for an NGO Aga Khan Development Network.
"She was abducted around 10:40 pm on Thursday from the Taimani area of Kabul," CNN-News18 reported.
However, NewsX report said that the abduction took place close to Qala-e-Fatullah, an area of Kabul where many such incidents have taken place in the past. No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the abduction yet.
The Indian authorities are in touch with the Afghan government and are trying to secure an early release of the woman. The authorities also got in touch with the Judith's family. Government sources claimed that all efforts are being made to ensure safe and early release of the woman.
"Our Embassy is in touch with senior Afghan authorities and the government is in touch with her family in Kolkata too. All efforts are being made by Afghan authorities to secure her early release", Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials were reported saying.
Given the volatile situation and a spate in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, in May this year the Indian Embassy had alerted Indians living in the country to be careful. The notice was also issued for those travelling to Afghanistan.
"All Indians residing in Afghanistan and Indian travellers to Afghanistan are advised that the security situation in Afghanistan remains highly volatile. Terrorist attacks have taken place in many parts of the country against a variety of targets including foreigners and are expected to continue. There is also the risk of kidnapping and hostage taking throughout the Afghanistan,” the statement had said.
The Kolkata-based family of Judith D'Souza, a woman development worker abducted in Kabul has expressed the hope that India and Afghanistan will act soon to have her released.
"It happened in a different country. The government of that country should take steps. She liked the place as she said there was a lot of work to be done," her sister Agnes D'Souza told the media in Kolkata. "But if such a thing happens, who would want to go back. I am asking every channel to do their part. The government of India must do something and get my sister back. I want her back," she added.
She said Judith was scheduled to return home Wednesday next and had rung up two days ago. "She did not express any apprehension," she said. Agnes said, "We had asked her (Judith) not to go there but she did not listen."
Asked about Taliban involvement in the crime, she said, "I don't know." Judith's family came to know about the development at around 1.30 am on Friday from the Indian embassy in Kabul.
"We are waiting for more information and then we will act accordingly," said the sister. "I tried the embassy (in Kabul) but it is closed as it is Friday. People in Delhi are trying on our behalf to contact the authorities." Judith never spoke about any danger to her, the sister said.
"She has been abroad before but this is the first time this has happened," Agnes D'Souza said.
The 40-year-old Judith, a gender specialist, was working with an NGO in Kabul for a year on issues of women and child development.
The woman's father D D'Souza said in Kolkata that the family received information that three persons — Judith, a security guard and the driver of the vehicle, were abducted. "I want my daughter back," said a sobbing D'Souza. "She said she was safe. We had long conversations," he added.
"External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj rang up and spoke to me and assured that the government is making all-out efforts to bring her back," Judith's sister Agnes D'Souza told PTI.
Reponding to a tweet by one of the family members of Judith, Swaraj said "She is your sister and India's daughter. We are doing everything to rescue her. Pl take care of your sick father."
A source said the woman was abducted by suspected militants.
Chief Executive of Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India, Ratish Nanda said every effort is being made to secure her safe release.
"On Thursday, 9 June, a staff member of the Aga Khan Foundation was abducted. An investigation by the authorities has been launched, in conjunction with security officials and various partners. Every effort is being made to secure the safe release of the staff member," he said in a statement in New Delhi.
The Aga Khan Foundation is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network and has been working on restoration projects in the war-ravaged country.
"It will continue to work with local communities, the Government of Afghanistan and those in need to enhance the development of the country," said Nanda.

With inputs from agencies.
Firstpost India News

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