Indian woman rescued from captors in Afghanistan returns homeNew Delhi: Judith D'Souza, an Indian aid worker who was abducted in Kabul last month by suspected militants, returned here today after being rescued.
Judith called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj soon after her arrival from
Modi welcomed Judith to India and thanked Afghan President
Ashraf Ghani for extending cooperation towards her release.
"Would like to thank the Govt. of Afghanistan, especially
President @ashrafghani for their cooperation in bringing
Judith home," the Prime Minister tweeted after meeting her.
The 40yearold woman, who works for Aga Khan Foundation
as a senior technical adviser, was abducted from outside her
office in the heart of Kabul on June 9.
Judith, accompanied by Indian Ambassador in Afghanistan
Manpreet Vohra, arrived at the Indira Gandhi International
Airport at around 6 PM from where she was driven straight to
A visibly emotional Swaraj embraced her warmly, saying
"the daugther has returned home". Junior Ministers in the MEA
V K Singh and MJ Akbar were also present. Later, the External
Affairs Minister accompanied Judith to meet Modi.
"I am happy to inform you that Judith D'Souza has been
rescued," Swaraj said, announcing her release through a tweet
in the morning.
She also thanked Afghan authorities for securing her
release. "Thank you Afghanistan for all your help and
support in rescuing #Judith."
The External Affairs Ministry was in constant touch with
Afghan authorities to ensure the safe release of Judith, who
hails from Kolkata.
It was not immediately known who were Judith's captors
and how she was rescued. She was abducted along with two other
Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi was present when Judith arrived
at the airport and the parliamentarian told reporters that she
was humiliated during her captivity.
The External Affairs Minister also lauded the efforts
made by Vohra in ensuring Judith's release.
In Kolkata, her family thanked the government for its
efforts to secure her release.
"We are thankful to the Indian government for the rescue
of our sister. We are now waiting for her to be back home. We
would request the media to respect our privacy," Judith's
sister Agnes told PTI.
Judith, who will be travelling to Kolkata tomorrow to be
reunited with her family, did not take any questions and
requested the media to respect her privacy till she recovers
as she had a difficult time in captivity.
Swaraj attacks Sharif for 'delusional,dangerous' Kashmir dreamNew Delhi: In a strong attack on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his statements on Kashmir, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today told him that his dream of the state becoming a part of his country "will not be realised even at the end of eternity".
Taking umbrage at Sharif's statement that "Kashmir will
one day become Pakistan", she said in a statement that this
"delusional though dangerous dream" was the reason for
Pakistan's "unabashed embrace and encouragement to terrorism".
"The whole of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India. You
will never be able to make this heaven on earth a terror
hell," she said.
India's reaction came amidst provocative statements
issued on neardaily basis by Pakistan government and Sharif.
Noting that in the last few days, leadership of Pakistan,
including its Prime Minister has praised Burhan Wani, a wanted
terrorist Commander of the banned terrorist organisation
Hizbul Mujahideen, as "martyr", Swaraj wondered did he not
know that he was carrying an award of Rs 10 Lakh on his head
because he had perpetrated heinous crimes including murder of
elected representatives of local bodies and security
"Even more condemnable than these deplorable attempts
from across our border to incite violence and glorify
terrorists is the fact that these attempts have been
undertaken by Pakistan's state machinery in active partnership
with UNdesignated terrorist Hafiz Saeed and other leading
terrorists belonging to internationally proscribed
organisations," she said.
Taking on Sharif for his comments that his good wishes
are with the people of Kashmir, Swaraj said, "Sadly, it's not
Pakistan's good wishes or moral or diplomatic support but its
weapons and terrorism that it has exported to Jammu and
"Pakistan's dirty money, dangerous terrorists and
duplicitous state institutions seek to destabilise the region.
The statement of none other than the Prime Minister of
Pakistan has betrayed this despicable design. But I would like
to repeat that this dream of Pakistan will never be
Accusing Pakistan of using fighter planes and artillery
against millions of its own people, the minister said it has
no right whatsoever to point a finger against brave,
professional and disciplined police and other security forces
"Their restraint and respect for their fellow citizens is
evident in the unusually high number of the injured personnel–
more than 1700 – in the violence unleashed with the support
from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir," she added.
At least 45 people have died and more than 3,400 have
been injured in the violence that erupted in Kashmir after the
killing of 22yearold terrorist Wani by security forces on
India has accused Pakistan of not only pushing in
terrorists but also fanning discontent within the Valley by
providing support to terrorist outfits in fomenting the recent
trouble in Kashmir.
Pakistan used Wani's killing to needle India at the
United Nations and issued statements where it accused India of
atrocities in Kashmir. Pakistan also observed 'Black Day' on
July 19 to express solidarity with the people of the Valley
over the killing of Wani.
Black Money: Don't want to be big brother watching, says FMBengaluru: Asking people to come clean on unaccounted wealth and live with "heads held high", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said government is aware of sectors generating black money but it would be unpleasant to start the "big brother watching" process.
Government, he said, has to trust its citizen and hence
keeping a watch on their transactions is not a very happy
thing for it to do.
Pressing black money holders to come clean under the
Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), Jaitley said the policy of
the government is to gradually nudge and push India to become
a tax paying society rather than a tax evading one.
"It is an opportunity for tax payers to come out clean,
clean up their books, sleep well and live with their heads
held high. Those who pay taxes lead a life without fear,"
He added: "I'm sure it's an opportunity which is being
granted, you will understand the idea behind this scheme is
to slowly nudge India in to becoming more and more compliance
state. As you become a compliance state, I think it is good
for the country..."
Noting that tax rates are reasonable in the country and
in future nonpayment in all likelihood is going to be
detected, he said it is extremely important to pay taxes, also
at a time when India is emerging as strong economy.
He further said: "Tax department is aware of the sectors
in which unaccounted money is generated. It is very unpleasant
duty for any state for it to start the process of big brother
"Any government has to trust its citizens and therefore
to keep watching their transaction is not a very happy thing
for a government to do."
Jaitley was addressing an IDS event, organised by the
Department of Income Tax in association with Institute of
Chartered Accountants of India, and industry bodies Ficci and
Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry. It
was attended by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia among others.
The Finance Minister said tax rates are moderate in India
as far as the direct taxation is concerned, compared to other
economies in the world, leaving out tax havens and tax
"If you look at the developed world or even emerging
economies and compare them with India and do this comparative
study of international taxation, our tax rates are extremely
moderate compared to the rest of the world," he said.