Abducted Indian worker killed in Afghanistan (Lead)

February 9th, 2009 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai/New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) An Indian worker kidnapped by unknown militants in Afghanistan’s Herat province last October has died in the captivity of his abductors, officials and his family said Monday.

A terse press statement from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in Chennai said: “… the abducted Indian national Simon Paramananthan died… in (the) custody of his abductors… His (Simon’s) family in India has been informed.”

Paramanathan, 38, worked with an Italian company in Afghanistan.

Vasanti Paramanathan, the victim’s 35-year-old widow, confirmed the tidings from their home in Kallakurichi in Tamil Nadu, 230 km south of the Tamil Nadu capital.

“We have been informed by officials in Afghanistan that my husband Simon was murdered yesterday (Sunday) night. Enquiries by my brother-in-law Subramanian also elicited the same response,” Vasanti told IANS over phone.

Official sources in New Delhi said the Afghan government also conveyed to the Indian external affairs ministry about Paramanathan’s death in the custody of his kidnappers.

The Indian embassy in Kabul has yet to get the body of Parmanathan. “We are in touch with the Afghan officials. The circumstances of his death are not clear. It will become clear only after the post-mortem,” a source told IANS.

“It does not look like a political killing aimed at sending a message to India. The motive appears to be purely mercenary,” the source added.

But Vasanti said her husband who converted to Christianity when they were married a few years ago, was murdered on two counts - the first being non-payment of a ransom of $50,000 and the second that he was a Christian.

“Simon’s employers, an Italian company, kept on delaying the negotiation process and now he is dead. I really do not know when I would see his mortal remains,” Vasanti added.

Paramanathan was kidnapped Oct 13 last year by unidentified criminal gangs and the Indian government had been continuously negotiating for his release. He went to Afghanistan in 2007.

Many Indians have been killed in Afghanistan by suspected Taliban militia who resent India’s reconstruction work in that country.

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