Judith’s Family Writes To Modi For Her Release

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New Delhi:  Government on Moday said it is working round the clock to secure the release of Judith D’Souza who has been abducted in Afghanistan as her family wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to do his “utmost” in ensuring that she is reunited with them at the earliest.

“This is a very delicate matter. Human life is at stake. We are working round the clock. I cannot share details,” tweeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj while responding to a question on what steps government has taken to rescue the 40-year-old woman from Kolkata.

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The Indian Embassy in Kabul has been in constant touch with the Afghan authorities. Official sources said government was in constant touch with Afghan authorities and they are making all efforts to trace and ensure her release. Meanwhile, keeping the hope alive that Ms D’Souza will be home soon, her family today wrote to the Prime Minister, urging him to do his “utmost” in securing her release.

Her father Denzil D’Souza, mother Gloria, brother Jerome and sister Agnes wrote a common letter to PM Modi, whose copies were sent to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress MP from the state Derek O’Brien.

In the letter, the family members have said the “brave, thoughtful, generous and compassionate” Mr D’Souza had been working in Afghanistan for the well-being of the Afghan people and “as an ambassador of goodwill from India’s people, participating in the developmental programmes of that country”.

Describing her as a “proud Indian”, the family said, “as you can imagine, the news of Judith’s kidnapping has shocked and stunned us. It has placed a shroud upon our family.” They added, “We were eagerly awaiting her arrival home on vacation in a week from now, and do hope she will be back with us soon.”

Ms D’Souza, working for an international NGO Aga Khan Foundation as senior technical adviser, was kidnapped by suspected militants in the heart of Kabul three days back. She was scheduled to return to India this week. The family members said the government has reached out to them in “our time of need and anxiety” and the External Affairs Minister as well as an official of the ministry had spoken to them in the past two days.

“However, we still await concrete details,” they said. “Sir, we appeal to you in your capacity as the leader of our great country and as the custodian of the well-being of our citizens, to please do your utmost to get dear Judith back home, among her family, her friends and her people. Please commit all levers you can bring into play to successfully reunite our family,” the family wrote in the letter to the Prime Minister.