ANDHRA PRADESH

‘Government should talk to pirates’

Santosh Patnaik

Indian hostage Saravanan calls up his relatives in Vizag, complains against employer



Tells them that his employer was not showing interest in freeing the hostages

Asks kin to pressure the government to free them from the Somali pirates



VISAKHAPATNAM: Shore engineer Palanichamy Saravanan, who has been held hostage along with two other Indians by Somali pirates since January7, told his relatives that the Indian authorities should hold talks with the kidnappers to rescue them.

Mr. Saravanan called his relatives in the city on Sunday and told them that so far there was no initiative to establish contact with the pirates and negotiate with them to obtain their release. The pirates kidnapped three Indians and seven Kenyans from a merchant vessel off the Kenyan coast and held the Indians hostage after letting off others.

Huge ransom

It is reported that they have sought a huge ransom but there is no confirmation yet on the amount. Antony from Kerala and Theresiya Fernando from Tamil Nadu are being held hostage along with Mr. Saravanan, who hails from Tiruchirapalli and is settled here for the past 20 years after his marriage to Siva.

Vijayalakshmi, sister-in-law of Mr. Saravanan, told The Hindu that he was under tremendous stress while speaking to them at about 2.20 p.m. for 30 seconds. He told them that his life was hanging in the balance as the company in which they were employed had not taken any initiative to rescue them.

Mr. Saravanan and two others were employed in the Mombasa-based Southern Engineering Ltd. “For the first time, he spoke to us, probably from the mobile phone provided by the pirates.

His voice appeared very weak,” his relatives said.

During the talk, he regretted that his employer was not showing interest for their freedom and asked them to put pressure on the Indian government to hold talks with the kidnappers.

Memorandum

Mr. Saravanan’s family had submitted a memorandum to Commissioner of Police N. Sambasiva Rao and faxed representations to the authorities to save him immediately after knowing about their abduction.

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