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Kidnap fear in Nadia

Tehatta (Nadia), June 19: The wife of a Nadia villager working as a mason in Iraq said today her husband had telephoned her last evening to say he had been “kidnapped”, and that hours later a caller identifying himself as an official from Delhi had confirmed this.

“Yesterday evening, my husband called me up to say that he had been kidnapped along with other construction workers. He said there was another man from Nadia with him. When I had spoken to him on Sunday, he had said he was surrounded by militants. The call from Delhi came last night,” Namita Sikdar said in Chitka-Ilshamari village.

Khokon Sikdar, 45, had left for Iraq in 2011 to work for the construction firm Tariq Noor al-Huda on a four-year contract. He would call the family every Sunday, Namita said.

The 35-year-old, who lives with her elderly mother-in-law, teenaged daughter and five-year-old son, said she could barely follow the caller from Delhi, who was speaking in Hindi. But she said the caller had told her Khokon was among the 40 Indians abducted in Mosul.

The Nadia administration said it was yet to hear from the Centre on whether anyone from the district had been kidnapped. “We have no such information from the Centre. Khokon Sikdar’s wife met me in my office today and gave me a letter saying she feared that militants in Iraq had kidnapped her husband. I have sent the letter to higher authorities,” Tehatta sub-divisional officer Arnab Chatterjee said.

To a question if she had asked her husband how he had been able to call home while being held captive, Namita said: “It didn’t occur to me, I was so terrified.”

Jammu engineer

The family of Rajesh Kumar, a mechanical engineer from Jammu who works with a construction company in Iraq, has not heard from him for 10 days. “We have been trying his number persistently but it is switched off. We are extremely worried but do not know what to do,” his father Swaran Das Chowdhary, a retired soldier, said.