South Asia

Govt Says ‘Working Round the Clock’ to Secure Release of Kidnapped NGO Worker

Judith D'Souza worked for the NGO Aga Khan Foundation and was kidnapped by suspected militants in the heart of Kabul three days ago. Credit: PTI

Judith D’Souza worked for the NGO Aga Khan Foundation and was kidnapped by suspected militants in the heart of Kabul three days ago. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The government today said it is working round the clock to secure the release of Judith D’Souza who was abducted in Afghanistan on June 10, even as her family wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urge him to do his “utmost” to ensure 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,” foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said in a tweet while responding to a question on what steps the government is taking to rescue the 40-year-old woman from Kolkata.

Official sources said the government was in constant contact with Afghan authorities, and were making every effort to trace D’souza and ensure her release.

Meanwhile, keeping the hope alive that she will be home soon, her family , urging him to do his “utmost” in securing her release.

In a letter to Modi, her parents Denzil and Gloria, brother Jerome and sister Agnes have said the “brave, thoughtful, generous and compassionate” Dsouza 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”. Copies of the letter have been sent to Swaraj, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress member of parliament Derek O’Brien.

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.”

D’souza, a senior technical adviser with international NGO Aga Khan Foundation, was kidnapped by suspected militants in the heart of Kabul three days ago.

The family also said the government has reached out to them in “our time of need and anxiety” and Swaraj as well as a foreign ministry official had spoken to them in the past two days, but they were still awaiting concrete details.