Ranchi/Giridih: It has been a week since three Indians have been released by Afghan Taliban, but their names are yet to be revealed by the Indian government. The Afghanistan government too did not speak anything about the prisoner swap between the Taliban and the US due to which three Indians have been freed. This had led to a prolonged confusion among the family members of the victims.
According to sources, there had been some negotiations or talks between the Afghan Taliban and the United States’ Special Representative for Reconciliation – Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad. During which a prisoner swap deal was finalized between the two on Sunday, October 6, 2019.
Following which US forces released around 11 Afghan Taliban members including some prominent Afghan Taliban leaders like Sheikh Abdul Rahim and Maulvi Abdur Rashid.
Interestingly, both the Taliban leaders had served as governors of Kunar and Nimroz provinces during the Taliban regime, prior to US-led intervention in 2001. In exchange, the Taliban had to release five prisoners, which included a US citizen, an Australian national and three Indians.
Following the release of the three Indians, the militant organization’s spokesperson told about the same to Pakistani media organizations but there was no clarity on the US and Australian national’s release, also the names of the Indian nationals had not been revealed.
The Indians who have been released supposedly belong to the group of six Indians who had been abducted by unidentified gunmen from KEC International’s power plant site at Baghlan Province on May 6, 2018. All the abducted victims were employees of KEC.
Among the seven Indians—five were from Jharkhand—Prakash, Hulas and Prasadi Mahto (all Giridih), Kali Mahto (Hazaribagh) and one each from Bihar and Kerala.
After 9 months of the abduction, in March this year, one Prakash Mahto, a resident of Bagoder, Giridih was released by the abductors, but his release was also not officially announced.
In the case of Prakash, only his family members had been informed. His family, all residents of Bagoder is yet to return from Delhi, where they had gone to meet Prakash.
This time too there has been no official statement by the Indian government on October 6 release.
However, Sikander Ali, who is the admin of several social media groups of migrant workers, and has been in constant touch with the families. He informed that the family members of Kali Mahto have been called in Delhi by KEC officials to meet him.
Former MLA of Bagodar, and CPI-ML leader Vinod Singh, who had staged a protest after the abduction, demanding their release, from Giridih to Delhi told eNewsroom, “This news is all over International media that three Indians have been released by Taliban in a prisoner swap deal between Afghanistan Taliban and the US. But the Indian government has not made any statement in this regard.”
Now, with the release of four, two Indians still remain in the captive of abductors, both are from Bagodar Giridih.
“There is also fear that, like Prakash Mahto’s case, again family members of these three individuals who have been released would also be kept in captivity, this time by the company. The government which has shown less or no interest in this case, should now act and make things clear and easy for ones who has been released and for two others too who are still in captive by militant organizations in Afghanistan,” added Singh.
Political observers believe that Kali Mahto and his family may also not be allowed to return back to their homes or interact with the media as the Jharkhand election is just round the corner.