New Delhi: Four Indians, including three lecturers, have been kidnapped in Sirte in Libya. The Indian government is working for their early release, the ministry of external affairs said on Friday.
Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian mission in Tripoli came to know at 11 p.m. on Thursday night “that four Indian nationals who were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis were detained at a checkpoint, 50 km from Sirte”.
In a statement, he said two of them are from Hyderabad and one from Raichur and one from Bengaluru.
Three were faculty members at the University of Sirte and one was working at the Sirte University branch at Jufra, he said.
He said the MEA through its Head of Mission in Tripoli is ascertaining the details regarding the incident.
“According to information available through our sources, all four Indians have been brought back to the city of Sirte.”
“We are in regular touch with the families concerned and all efforts are being made to ensure the well being and early release of the four Indian nationals,” he said.
No ransom demand has been made as yet, sources said.
The kidnapping comes even as the fate of 39 Indians kidnapped in June 2014 from Mosul in Iraq remains unknown. The 39 were kidnapped by the Islamic State militants. The government maintains the men, all laborers from mostly Punjab, are still alive.
The Indian government had last year issued an advisory asking its citizens to leave Libya.
The government is making all efforts to make state-run BSNL robust and financially viable again and has prepared a comprehensive plan for its revival, an official said on Sunday, on the eve of a nationwide strike called by the employees unions over their demands.
BSNL employees and officers have given a three-day country-wide strike call from February 18 to highlight their long-pending issues, including allotment of 4G spectrum to the telecom major and wage revision for the workforce.
“All efforts are being made, and will continue to be made, to make BSNL robust and financially viable,” a Communications Ministry statement said.
“The main demands of the All India Unions and Associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam (AUAB) include benefits to executives under the 3rd Pay Revision Committee (PRC) with 15 per cent fitment and to non-executives as per the 8th wage negotiations w.e.f. 1.1.2017, allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL, revision of pension for BSNL retirees w.e.f. 1.1.2017 and delinking of same with pay revision for PRC implementation, and deduction of payment of pension contribution by BSNL on actual basic pay instead of on the highest level of the pay scale.
“Government wishes to re-emphasize that it will continue to engage with the BSNL management and representatives of the unions and associations, to support their reasonable demands, and to guide the organization towards a revival,” it said.
Noting that the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) is taking “positive steps” regarding each of these demands, the ministry said the issue of alloting 4G spectrum to BSNL is being referred to telecom regulator TRAI “to recommend on the issue of administrative allocation, quantum, price and appropriate frequency band”.
“Further action will be taken on receipt of the said recommendation. In parallel, a comprehensive proposal for revival of BSNL has been prepared, which will be taken up for consideration by competent authorities very soon.”
It also noted that a Coordination Committee comprising senior officers of the DoT, BSNL management, and representatives of AUAB is already working in this regard.
“Representatives of AUAB have also held meetings with the DOT Additional Secretary in which they have been duly apprised of the progress being made in relation to their demands,” the statement said.
It pointed out that the BSNL management has appealed to its employees not to resort to any agitation at this critical juncture when the organization is engaged in “sincere and serious efforts” to protect and enhance the company’s market share, “and when any disruption in services can only adversely impact the interests of BSNL and its customers, employees and other stakeholders.” (IANS)