ISIS-abducted teachers from Karnataka reunite with family

Bengaluru/Hyderabad: Two Indian teachers from Karnataka, kidnapped in Libya allegedly by Islamic State (IS) terror group and released subsequently, were reunited with their families as they arrived home today.

The two said they were treated with respect by the abductors and not tortured in captivity.

"They asked whether we are Muslim or non Muslim... as they came to know we were non-Muslims they detained us...they did not do any thing, they did not harm, even they did not touch me or any of us," Vijay Kumar on landing at Bengaluru International Airport told reporters.

"They respected us, they told us if you were teachers of the University...you have taught our students, so we are releasing you. You can go to India and follow Islam," he said.

Thanking the Indian government, people and the media for their help and good wishes, he said, "Only sad thing is that two of our friends are still there. If they also come I will be happy."

Four Indian teachers working at University of Sirte in Libya, including two from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, were kidnapped in Libya allegedly by the ISIS while returning to India from Tripoli on July 29.

The Indian government had on July 31 said it had secured the release of two of them - Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Efforts were underway to get the other two freed. Lakshmikant, from Raichur district in Karnataka, on his arrival at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad said, "...Nobody tortured us...they did not harm...they gave respect."

"Four of us were together (during captivity). They released me and Vijay Kumar. I have been told that Gopikrishna and Balram are safe. I am requesting them that they too are released," he said.

Both Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar were received by their family members at the airport.

Lakshmikant's wife Prathiba, who was among the family members who received him at the airport, said, "We are very happy and proud of the Indian government. We thank each and everybody, media and family friends."

Vijay Kumar's family hails from Kolar district in Karnataka. Gopikrishna, an assistant professor at University of Sirte in Libya, is a native of Tekkali in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, while Balram, an English Professor, also works at the same University and hails from Karimnagar district of Telangana.

Lakshmikant further said one Shaikh, who was among the abductors, had asked him to send him message once he reached India and not to worry about his friends (Gopikrishna and Balram).

Accordingly, Lakshmikant spoke in Arabic to media here to convey the message and requested for release of Gopikrishna and Balram.

Meanwhile, Balram's wife Sridevi said, "It is a good news. I met Lakshmikant. It seems Shaikh had asked him to message or give a phone call as soon as he lands in Hyderabad, so that accordingly these two people (Gopikrishna and Balram) will be released. That's the information Lakshmikant gave me."

She said they (abductors) told Lakshmikant that "we are going to release these two people also."

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