It's too dangerous out there, I will never go back: Prof

The anxiety and uncertainty that gripped the family of Vijay Kumar, a teacher from Bangarpet in Kolar district who was abducted and released by the Islamic State (IS) fighters in Libya last week, disappeared the moment they spotted him walking out of the Kempegowda International Airport here on Tuesday.

Sunitha, his wife, could not control her emotions. She suddenly drank a lot of water and ran to him, so did his two sons and three sisters. It was a perfect family reunion when they all hugged him. Sunitha was the first one to receive him with a warm kiss. The family thanked God for giving him a sort of rebirth.

“I thank God and everybody who prayed and strived for our safe release, be it the Indian embassy in Libya, the Sirte University authorities, my students or the public. It will not go back,” said Kumar, who was held hostage for two days. According to him, the situation in and around Sirte is too dangerous for learning and the university’s operations have been suspended.

Kumar recounted his two-day ordeal. “Just after our abduction, they asked us whether we were Muslim. In fact, we were abducted for being non-Muslim. Some of our students found us but were unable to help. They decided to set us free on learning that we had taught their children. They asked us to return to India and follow Islam,” he said. “They gave us food. They didn’t harm us. They didn’t even touch us.”

Kumar said that they had a safe release as Sirte was the IS’s control. “The two other Indian professors (who were also abducted) work at a different campus of Sirte University, about 200 km from the head office. The abductors are reluctant to set them free as they suspect them to be spies,” he explained. The university has formed a three-member committee to secure their release. They could be released in a couple of days, he said.

His sister, Nagamani, said she was not certain about his safe return to India. His wife said she had sleepless nights. “I met a pontiff who told me my husband would be released in two days. When I came out of the ashram, I got a call from my husband who said he was safely released.”

Suhas, 19, the professor’s son, said his father had never told the family about the danger in Libya.

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