The Indian aid worker, who was abducted from Herat in Afghanistan by unidentified gunmen, remained in captivity for the second day on Tuesday with local authorities yet to get any “conclusive” clues in the case.
India is in constant touch with the Afghan government and local authorities that have launched a search operation for 47-year-old Prem Kumar, who was abducted yesterday afternoon, according to top official sources.
However, no “conclusive” clues have been found by the local authorities so far, they said.
A native of Tamil Nadu, Kumar was working with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an educational charity, as its Afghanistan Director and has been in the country for over three years.
Before moving to Afghanistan, Kumar had worked for the JRS, serving Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu.
Kumar had accompanied teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for the returnee refugees in Sohadat village, 25 km from the city of Herat. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat, the JRS said.
The abduction comes nearly 10 days after the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat by four heavily-armed gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.
The attackers were subsequently killed by the security forces who repelled the attack on May 23.
On May 29, the Indian mission in Herat had issued an advisory asking its nationals to exercise extreme caution while venturing out.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh flew to Herat on Friday and reviewed the situation following the attack on the Indian consulate in the western Afghan city, bordering Iran.
She held meetings in the Afghan capital on Saturday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani – the two presidential candidates – who asserted that friendship with India would remain a “top priority” for any new government here.
Afghanistan is experiencing a rise in Taliban attacks as foreign troops plan to withdraw from the war-torn country by the end of the year.
In August last year, a failed bombing against the Indian consulate in Jalalabad city near the border with Pakistan killed nine people, including six children. No Indian officials were hurt.
The Indian Embassy in Kabul was attacked twice in 2008 and 2009 which left 75 people dead.
Apart from the Salma dam project, India has invested in some major infrastructure projects including the Afghan Parliament building in Kabul.
India’s development assistance programme for Afghanistan currently stands at USD 2 billion, making it the leading donor nation among all regional countries.
On May 27, during his meeting with Modi, Karzai maintained that the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba.