Hyderabad: After around two years, including 13-and-half months in terror captivity in Libya, two Telugu professors C. Balram Krishna and T.V. Gopikrishna, came back to their families early on Saturday morning.
They were handed over to their relieved families by MEA officials amid tight security with strict instructions not to reveal any details about their rescue.
After landing at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Friday morning, they were taken to the MEA office, where they briefed officials in details about how they were abducted, their detention and rescue till they were handed over to the Indian Embassy in Libya. They flew to Hyderabad from New Delhi and reached home in the early hours of Saturday.
Balram’s wife Sreedevi said despite all efforts from her family, and the state and Central governments, it was purely God’s grace that brought Balram back home safely.
“Every day was a nightmare. I had just two priorities till today. One was my husband’s safe return and the next my children’s education. My family and in-laws stood with me all these days and helped me. In one word, today is ‘rebirth day’ for all four of us, she said with tears rolling down her eyes.
Balram said he was enjoying every single moment of being with his family now and needed some time to get over the joy of returning home.
Meanwhile, at Gopi’s home, it was more than celebration. His daughter Jahnavi said she had a two-day holiday at school, but she wanted to see her dad back home before she goes to school on Monday.
“I was sleeping when I heard some noise. On waking up, my dad was in front of me. It is really unbelievable after two years of waiting,” Jahnavi said. Gopi’s elder brother Muralikrishna said all efforts and God’s grace paid off at the right time. His wife Kalyani said they were in tears the moment they saw him and cried for nearly an hour.
Relatives, friends, neighbours and even local leaders and government officials came to their houses during the day to meet and congratulate them.
We were never ill treated: Professors
The food was just rice and macaroni and only two pairs of clothes to wear. This was the condition of Telugu speaking professors Gopikrishna and Balram Krishna during their 13-and-half month captivity in the terrorist camps of Sirte in Libya.
They said they were never ill-treated by the abductors who never revealed their faces to them. They were given food in their rooms but sometimes it was not regular and quality was poor. After the end of an academic year they were coming home for a month’s vacation when they were kidnapped.
They were working for a study centre of the Sirte University in Al Zofra, 250 km away from Sirte. As per the rules of the Libyan Education Ministry, after every academic year, foreign employees should renew their contract.
Gopi and Balram were recruited by the Education Ministry to work in Sirte. Balram, who had been working for six years, did not want to return as he was suffering from severe backache and hypertension, while Gopi renewed his contract with the varsity and planned to return after the vacation.
On July 29, 2015, they were travelling to Tripoli, when about 50 km after crossing Sirte city, masked men took them prisoners. They were put up in closed rooms in Sirte and only a few masked men interacted with them. They were continuously shifted to different camps mostly during midnights. They did not get any answer from their abductors as to why they were abducted or where they were being shifted.
“It was a bitter experience. But I cannot speak more due to security issues as directed by the government,” Balram said, adding that he would use the time to meet his family. He praised his wife Sridevi, who tried her best with the governments for his release, without neglecting their children for a moment.
Talking about his captivity, Gopi said he had just two pairs of clothes when they were abducted.
Though he and Balram were in the same room they could never communicate with other captives. “We had nothing to do except eat. We were also given the clothes of prisoners who were released,” he said. Like Balram, he too said he had plans to work in Hyderabad,