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Telugu teachers rescued after a year long captivity by Islamic State (IS) terrorists

T Gopikrishna and C Balram Kishan, teachers of the University of Sirte were released by ISIS after being held captive for over a year

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ISIS. Wikimedia
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  • The two teachers of the University of Sirte were abducted by IS terrorists on July 29, 2015 while on their way to Tripoli airport to return to India
  • They thanked the Libyan Army and the Government of India, especially the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
  • T Gopikrishna and C Balram Kishan reached Hyderabad from New Delhi in the early hours

September 24,2016: Two Telugu teachers, who were rescued last week after over a year-long captivity by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Libya, returned home on Saturday.

T Gopikrishna and C Balram Kishan reached Hyderabad from New Delhi in the early hours.

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They merely said they were happy to reunite with their families, but declined to answer any queries from the media or share their experiences in captivity.

The two teachers of the University of Sirte were abducted by IS terrorists on July 29, 2015 while on their way to Tripoli airport to return to India.

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had announced on September 15 that they had been rescued.

Gopikrishna (35), an Assistant Professor at the University of Sirte, belongs to Tekkali in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, while Balram Kishan (52), a Professor at the same university, hails from Telangana’s Karimnagar district.

“I am very happy to reunite with my family. I don’t have any words to express my happiness,” said Gopikrishna talking to media persons at his residence in Nacharam, Hyderabad.

He thanked the Libyan Army and the Government of India, especially the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). “Thanks to their efforts, I could safely come back and reunite with my family,” said Gopikrishna flanked by his wife and daughter.

“I am really excited to return home after long captivity. I have already given all information to the MEA as to what happened during my 414-day captivity,” he said.

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Gopikrishna declined to speak on how they were freed and how they were treated in captivity.

“I can’t reveal all those details to you. I have given the information to the ministry,” he said.

The two teachers had reached New Delhi on Friday, after which officials of the MEA met and debriefed them.

Balram taught English and Gopikrishna Computer Science at Sirte University. They were among the four Indians kidnapped by IS the same day. Two of them were released a few days later.

Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar, hailing from Karnataka, had returned safely following their release earlier. (IANS)

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India’s Diwali Promise, Medical Visas to All Deserving

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Shushma Swaraj
External Affairs Minister Shushma Swaraj. IANS

New Delhi, October 19: Marking the auspicious occasion of Diwali, India on Thursday made a Diwali promise medical visas all those people abroad, including in Pakistan, seeking treatment.

“On the auspicious occasion of Deepawali, India will grant a medical visa in all deserving cases pending today,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

Keeping to a promise made on Independence Day, India on Wednesday issued six more medical visas to Pakistani nationals, including three children.

“We will issue visa to facilitate treatment of your eight-year-old child in India,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Wednesday night in response to a request from Nazir Ahmed who said that his son Mohammad Ahmed was awaiting a medical visa from India for one year.

In a separate tweet, she also promised a visa to Muhammad Asif Malik’s son, who is currently in an intensive care unit (ICU) in children’s hospital in Lahore, and to Kasif Chacha’s child who is running out of medicine.

Visas were also issued to Irfan Ahmed Shaikh, Nasir Mahmood and the mother of Rafique Menon for liver surgeries.

This month, Sushma Swaraj has announced the issuance of 19 medical visas to Pakistanis for treatment in India as Diwali promise.

Last month, India issued a medical visa to a Pakistani child seeking open heart surgery.

On Independence Day, the External Affairs Ministry made a Diwali promise that India would provide medical visas to all bonafide Pakistani patients.

As ties between the two countries soured over various issues, the ministry had announced in May that only a letter of recommendation by then Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz would enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.

The action was termed “highly regrettable” by Islamabad, which said that asking for such a letter violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

However, on July 18, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for a liver tumor, got a visa.

Sushma Swaraj then said that he needed no recommendation from the Pakistani government for a medical visa because the territory “is an integral part of India”.

Since August 15, however, Pakistani nationals seeking medical treatment have not been denied visas.(IANS)