Stepping-up efforts to release three Kangra youths held hostage by Nigerian pirates, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asking her to ensure the safety of youths in captivity. As per report sent to the center government by Deputy Commissioner Kangra Sandeep Kumar, three youths-all from Kangra district, working in the merchant navy have been held hostage by the Nigerian pirates for last 10-15 days.
Sushil Kumar, ship captain, who hails from Nagrota Surian, Pankaj Kumar from Nagorta Bhagwan and Ajay Kumar from Palampur have been reportedly kidnapped by the Nigerian pirates. “We have also sent a communication to Western Africa division of the ministry of external affairs giving details of the youths,” said a spokesperson.
Shanta Kumar informed this evening that he had also spoken to the union minister and provided her full details about the youths and the company which had employed them. Vinay Kumar, (brother of Sushil Kumar) said, his brother had contacted the family last on March 12 informing about the incident of kidnapping. Thereafter, the family had no contacts with the youths kept hostage.
As per Sushil, pirates had taken them to some thick forest areas where they have been kept hostage. The pirates have been demanding for a ransom of Rs 22 lakhs, which the family can’t really afford, said Vinay Kumar. Vinay Kumar informed that the family had contacted officials of the ministry of external affairs, who have conveyed that they were in the process of getting the youths released .“