It was a festival-like celebration in Malog village in Palampur when Ajay Kumar, one of the three Indians who were kept captive by pirates in South Africa, returned home. After spending 73 days in pirates' captivity in Nigeria, the three men - Sushil Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Kumar - who worked for the merchant navy, returned home in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district.
Ajay Kumar, who got a rousing welcome at him home, narrating his story said that he reached South Africa on January 25. On his company's assignment, he along with two more Indians and 11 South Africans sailed to get the oil loaded. In the middle of the ocean, pirates attacked their ship and kept them in captivity.
"While the South Africans were let off, we Indians were taken to a secret location and were kept in a jungle for 73 days," Ajay was quoted as saying by ANI. He said that they were made to talk to their company and families through satellite. He said that it was his faith in God and the Government, who he believed, would free them one day.
Under the watch of pirates for 24 hours, they were taken to an isolated jungle and fed Maggi once or twice a day.
Welcoming his son back home, Ajay's tear-eyed mother said, "We will eat dry chapatis, but will not let our son go outside India now."
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on April 11 tweeted about the release of the three men who were abducted in Nigeria. "We have secured the release of three Indian nationals Sushil Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Kumar - all from Himachal Pradesh who were abducted in Nigeria. I appreciate the efforts of Shri BN Reddy Indian High Commissioner in Nigeria," Ms Swaraj had tweeted.
We have secured the release of three Indian nationals Sushil Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Kumar - all from Himachal Pradesh who were abducted in Nigeria. I appreciate the efforts of Shri B.N.Reddy Indian High Commissioner in Nigeria. @jairamthakurbjppic.twitter.com/hDZVqWSKRi- Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 11, 2018
Union health minister JP Nadda also thanked Ms Swaraj for ensuring their safe release. "I thank Hon'ble @SushmaSwaraj Ji and officials of Indian Embassy for their painstaking efforts in securing the safe release of three youths of Himachal Pradesh from captivity in Nigeria," he tweeted.
I thank Hon'ble @SushmaSwaraj Ji and officials of Indian Embassy for their painstaking efforts in securing the safe release of three youths of Himachal Pradesh from captivity in Nigeria.- Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) April 11, 2018
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