The security of an Indian diplomat in South Africa came under question after he was held hostage along with his five-year-old son in South Africa's Durban.
The security of an Indian diplomat in South Africa came under question after he was held hostage along with his five-year-old son. Robbers targetted and briefly held hostage the family of Consul General Shashank Vikram, including his five-year-old son, domestic staff and a visiting teacher during an armed intrusion at their residence on Innes Road in Durban on Sunday. The incident has posed questions on the security of Indian diplomats abroad and the Indian government has taken up the issue with the South African government.
“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. He added 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. As per reports, the family of the Consul General is safe but are traumatised after the incident. “They took my youngest son hostage and also beat up my staff and they showed their guns to my wife. We are still trying to come to terms with what has happened”, Vikram was quoted saying by Times of India. The family is reportedly planning to attend counselling. “They are OK but they were obviously traumatised. Nobody suffered physical harm,” said Consul S K Pandey.
The robbers reportedly gained entry through the entrance gate, a strategy used often in a spate of brazen robberies recently in affluent suburbs north of Durban. It has been reported that a cellphone of a domestic worker, which was also robbed, could provide possible clues to the incident of the robbery at the home of India’s consul-general. Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has also spoken to the Consul General and inquired about the well being of his family. After the robbery incident, India reminded South Africa of its duty to protect diplomatic staff and property, under the Vienna Convention.