Indian Consul General’s family held hostage in South Africa

New Delhi: In a major breach in the security, the family of India’s Consul General in Durban was briefly held hostage at their official residence after they were attacked by robbers.

The family of Consul General Shashank Vikram, including his five-year-old son, domestic staff, and a visiting teacher were reportedly held up during the armed intrusion at their residence on Innes Road, on Saturday.

“We have taken up the matter with the relevant authorities, and investigations are currently ongoing. We expect that the intruders will be arrested soon,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

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He said that ensuring the safety and security of Indian diplomats and officials posted abroad, along with their families, is a matter of highest priority for the Indian government.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoken to the Consul General and inquired about the well being of his family, Kumar said.

The robbers reportedly gained entry by derailing the entrance gate, a strategy used often in a spate of recent brazen robberies in affluent suburbs north of Durban, the Independent Online reported.

“They (Vikram’s family) are OK but they were obviously traumatised,” consul SK Pandey was quoted as saying.

Nobody suffered physical harm, he said, adding that they planned to attend counselling.

He said a domestic worker’s cellphone, which was also robbed, could provide clues to the incident.

The incident raises questions on the security and safety of Indian diplomats abroad especially in difficult areas, and the Government needs to ensure armed security in these posts.

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