New Delhi/Kabul, June 3 :
There is still no news about an Indian aid worker who was kidnapped Monday by gunmen in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, officials said.
According to officials, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was monitoring the situation relating to the abduction of the 47-year-old Indian, Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, which comes days after a terror attack on the Indian consulate in Herat May 23.
Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha is in touch with the Afghan government in Kabul while the consul general is in touch with the local authorities in Herat, said official sources.
The external affairs ministry also denied that the abducted Indian was in any way connected to the Indian government, which is carrying out developmental and reconstruction work in Afghanistan.
The abducted Indian is said to be the director of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Afghanistan.
Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar was abducted Monday afternoon by a group of unidentified men from Sohadat village outside Herat, according to Jesuit Provincial of South Asia Fr. Edward Mudavassery.
Alexis was visiting a school for refugee Afghan children and had returned from a trip to Iran and Pakistan.
“There was no violence. The kidnappers just came and took the priest with them,” Mudavassery told ucanews.com.
No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Jesuits work in several areas of Afghanistan and generally keep a low profile, but in Herat “we are the only Indian NGO so we might be more visible,” Mudavassery said, according to ucanews.com.
“Our people have not been out much after the May 23 attack on the consulate because there was talk of possible attacks on Indians in the region,” he added.
Alexis is a member of the Madurai Jesuit province in Tamil Nadu in southern India. He has served in Afghanistan for the last three years and has worked with JRS for more than a decade.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh was in Herat during the weekend to review the security situation following the attack on the consulate. She held meetings in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.