Kolkata, June 10 (IANS) The family of an Indian development worker abducted in Afghanistan on Friday urged New Delhi and Kabul to act fast so as to rescue Judith D’Souza.
Armed suspected Islamists seized D’Souza, 40, a senior technical advisor on gender issues with the Aga Khan Developmental Network in Kabul, around Thursday midnight.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.
Judith’s family said she was scheduled to return to Kolkata next week.
“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 here.
“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.
Agnes also urged the West Bengal government to ensure her safe return: “My request is to ensure she can return as soon as possible, safely.”
Meanwhile, Derek O’Brien of Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress sought updates on the abduction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj after speaking to the woman’s family.
Sushma Swaraj responded in a tweet: “We are doing everything to rescue her.”
The Indian embassy in Kabul issued a security alert last month for Indians staying in and travelling to Afghanistan.
Judith’s classmates from College of Social Work Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, are praying for her safety, said NGO management expert Cletus Zuzarte in a Twitter conversation with Judith’s brother Jerome D’ Souza.
“We have been assured all kinds of help from the state and central governments to get my sister back,” said Jerome.
At Judith’s residence in central Kolkata, her parents were distraught.
Judith’s family learnt about the abduction from the Indian embassy in Kabul early on Friday morning.
Asked about Taliban involvement in the crime, her sister Agnes said: “I don’t know.”
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 said.
Her father Denzile described Judith as “very brave”.
“We were concerned about her safety in Afghanistan but she said she was quite safe. We had long conversations. She told us there was plenty of security,” he said.
Judith had come home two-and-a-half-months ago and was set to be back in Kolkata next week.
The abduction brought back chilling memories of the murder of best-selling author Sushmita Banerjee, who was shot dead by suspected Taliban gunmen in Sharan city in Afghanistan in 2013.
Banerjee had defied her family to marry Afghan businessman Jaanbaz Khan and stayed for years with him in Afghanistan. She managed to escape from Afghanistan in 1995 and came back to India.
In 1998, she wrote the bestselling memoir “Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou” (A Kabuliwala`s Bengali Wife), offering a vivid description of the suffering of women under the Taliban.