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Indian diplomat’s home ransacked in Durban: Delhi takes up matter with authorities

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The family of India’s Consul General in Durban Shashank Vikram has been left traumatised after eight robbers armed with guns and crowbars invaded their home, holding their 5-year-old son hostage on Thursday.

Responding to queries regarding the incident, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Sunday said New Delhi had taken up the matter with the relevant authorities and investigations were currently undergoing. ”We expect that the intruders will be arrested soon,” he added.

The spokesperson said, ”ensuring the safety of Indian diplomats/officials posted abroad and their families is a matter of highest priority for us.”
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had spoken to the Consul General and inquired about the well-being of his family.

 

Reports received here said a lapse in security for such a high-profile diplomatic family was now being investigated at the highest levels after the Consul General’s official residence, India House was breached for the first time in its long history.

Vikram was quoted by the local media as saying that with India House being a diplomatic establishment, the robbery, which he described as a “very rude shock”, should not have happened.

“Durban is home to us and we are very comfortable here. We never expected that such a thing would transpire. That is why I think it has come as a very rude shock. This is the first time India House has been intruded like this,” he said.

Vikram said the armed response officers had arrived only after about 15 minutes of the alarm being activated. Police arrived only after he had called them. They took away surveillance camera footage.

“They are investigating and I hope they are able to find the culprits,” Vikram said. “And I hope that adequate security is provided to diplomatic establishments in Durban, including India House.”

The intruders had burst into the historic home around 4 pm after overpowering and attacking a guard who had gone down to the driveway gate after apparently being summoned.

Vikram’s wife, Dr Megha Singh, and the couple’s two young children were home at the time and were subjected to a terrifying 10-minute ordeal during which their 5-year-old son was held hostage as the robbers demanded money and gold.