THE CALL was brief but neither T Kalyani nor C Sridevi could have wished for more. “He called some time after midnight and it was the sweetest voice I had ever heard,” said Kalyani, after her husband T Gopalakrishna was rescued along with colleague C Balaram Kishan from their captors in Libya.
“He spoke for just a few seconds and confirmed that he and his colleague had been rescued. We know what we have been through these last 14 months without any news about them,” Kalyani told The Indian Express. Her husband called from a military camp near Misrata, using an officer’s phone.
Sridevi said her heart was pounding when her phone rang after 1 am.
“Then I heard his voice and there were tears of joy. It was a call of a few seconds and it was a rebirth for all of us in the family,” she said.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted the news Thursday: “I am happy to inform that T Gopalakrishna (Gopikrishna) (AP) & C Balaram Kishan (Telangana) who were captive in Libya since 29 July, 2015 have been rescued.”
Gopalakrishna, 40, who hails from Tekkali in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh and Balaram, 52, from Karimnagar of Telangana, were working as assistant professors of computer science and English respectively at Sirte University in Libya.
They were abducted by an Islamic State group on July 29 last year while travelling to Tripoli airport to catch a flight. Two other colleagues abducted with them, V Laxmikant and Vijay Kumar of Karnataka, were released in days.
Gopalakrishna, who used to teach at a local college, joined Sirte in September 2007. He and Kalyani, who settled in Secunderabad 20 years ago, have a daughter and a son, Jahnvi in class V and Krishna Sai in class I. In the absence of a salary for a year, they were depending on Gopalakrishna’s savings and Kalyani’s mother’s pension. And Sridevi started a coaching class at home to sustain her family.
Balaram and Sridevi settled in Hyderabad 30 years ago. Balaram joined Sirte in 2011. They have two sons, Vijay Bhaskar in third year BTech at IIT Kharagpur and Madhusudhan in class VIII.