Telugu men kidnapped in Libya safe

Hyderabad, July 31 (IANS) Two of the four Indians kidnapped in Libya two days ago are safe, according to information reaching the family of one of them here on Friday.

Balram sent a brief message to his family in Hyderabad that he is safe.

The family of Gopkrishna, the other Telugu man hailing from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, is also settled in Hyderabad.

The Andhra Pradesh government has requested External Affairs Minister ushma Swaraj to direct the Indian embassy in Tripoli to seek the help of Libyan government authorities for the safe return of the Indians.

Andhra’s special representative in Delhi, K. Rama Mohan Rao wrote the letter to the minister, stating that four Indians including two Telugus were abducted and held hostage by an unknown group.

Andhra Pradesh’s NRI Affairs Minister Palle Raghunath Reddy said the state government was making efforts with the help of the Indian and Libyan governments to secure release of Gopikrishna.

He said efforts were also being made to contact the officials of Indian embassy in Tripoli.

The minister clarified that Gopikrishna and not Balram hails from Andhra Pradesh. Gopikrishna’s family lives in Hyderabad.

Two other men hail from Karnataka.

The Indians, who are faculty members at University of Sirte, were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis two days ago when they were stopped at a check point, 50 km from Sirte.

Gopikrishna has been working as an assistant professor at University of Sirte since 2007. According to family members, he has been coming home on leave every year for 45 to 50 days.

Kalyani, wife of Gopikrishna, said he spoke to her on Wednesday over phone and informed that he is coming home via Tunis. He also told her not to worry as his mobile phone will be switched off during the two-and-half hour long journey from the university to Tripoli.

“There was no phone call from him after that and yesterday we came to know about this incident,” she said.

Meanwhile, union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in New Delhi that the central government is working to bring back the kidnapped men safely.

Naidu said he spoke to Sushma Swaraj, who assured him that the government will make all efforts to ensure their safe and early release.

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