ROURKELA/NEW DELHI: Odia engineer Pravash Ranjan Samal, who was kidnapped by IS militants in Libya, has been freed conditionally, his family members claimed.
Though the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is yet to confirm his release, Samal’s family members said he was released from IS captivity on Wednesday evening. The office of the Chief Resident Commissioner, New Delhi said that it is yet to receive any information in this regard from the Government of India.
Pravash, who works as a bio-medical engineer at a hospital in Libya, had a brief conversation over phone with his sister-in-law Manasi Nayak in Rourkela at 3 pm informing her about his conditional release by the militant group.
Pravash’s brother Bibhu Padarbinda Nayak said on Thursday he was slightly relieved after knowing about his conditional release.
Manasi said Pravash identified himself by his nickname ‘Tuna’ and said after being released by his abductors, he was staying at an acquaintance’s house. Pravash was instructed by his kidnappers to continue to work at the hospital. Manasi said Pravash also requested them to appeal to both Odisha and Central governments for his safe return to India.
Bibhu said he is still apprehensive about Pravash’s safety because of the explosive conditions in Libya.
Meanwhile, MEA officials confirmed that the family of Pravash have informed them about receiving a phone call and his claim that he had been released.
However, there was no official response from the Ministry. A government official explained that the family had recounted the details of the phone conversation, but it was right now not possible to verify the release.
“There is only one-way communication from Sirte since the blackout. We are not able to verify so far what Samal has told them, as all phone and internet lines have been cut off. It is not right for us to talk about his release if we can’t confirm it,” he said.
As per the Government official, Samal also told his family that the other Indian abducted from the hospital, Ramamurthy Kosanam from Andhra Pradesh, has still not been released.
Sources had told ‘Express’ that both of them had been taken by IS, along with 10 other Filipino employees, from Ibn-e-Sina hospital in Sirte on September 8. Indian embassy officials learnt about the kidnapping only when another hospital employee, a Filipino national, reached Tripoli days later. She had hid herself in the kitchen, when her colleagues were taken away.