New Delhi: The family of Judith D’Souza expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Indian government, specially foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, for rescuing her in Afghanistan. “We are very very happy,” Judith’s sister Agnes told reporters at their home in central Kolkata. “We are thankful to the Indian government for the rescue of our sister. We are now waiting for her to be back home. We would request the media to respect our privacy,” she said.
Judith, who reached New Delhi on Saturday evening, is expected to join her family in Kolkata on Sunday evening ending her one-and-a-half-month-long ordeal, when she was kidnapped from outside her office in Kabul on June 9. Judith’s family had last month written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging his intervention in ensuring that she is reunited with them. Modi had requested Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to expedite efforts to secure Judith’s release.
“The officials of MEA (Ministry of External Affairs of India) were extremely cooperative and we spoke to them thrice a day. Though we cannot share more information, we are happy with the efforts made by the Indian and Afghanistan government to bring my sister back,” Judith’s brother Jerome told reporters.
Judith, as many speculate, was to collect a ransom as she was working for a foundation based in the USA. Though the family is tight-lipped and so are government officials, sources indicate that Aga Khan Foundation where Judith is working as a senior technical adviser had paid a large sum of money for her release.
“We request you all not to speculate. For us the biggest relief is that she is safe and back in India,” said Agnes. Though MEA officials refused to comment, there are concerns with other Indians working on various development and social projects in Afghanistan. “It is still not at peace and the democracy is fragile. But with every positive development we believe that the country will evolve over time,” said a senior official of the ministry.
Her neighbours also breathed a sigh a relief with the news of her rescue. “This is the best news we have heard in many months. We had known the family for years … they have lived through a nightmare,” said Harish, Judith’s neighbour.